The Kicks Community Cup

Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service (TWFRS), Northumbria Police (NP), North East Ambulance Service (NEAS) and the Beacon of Light, supported by Sunderland City Council North Area Committee, hosted the first Kicks Community Cup.

The Kicks Community Cup football tournament was part of a broad programme of community engagement incentives and aims to reduce antisocial behaviour in the area. Firefighter Chris Smith, based at Sunderland Central decided to organise an event for young people during the Bonfire Period following the incidents he responded to last year.

Station Manager, Shaun Makin, Sunderland Central said, “The Kicks Community Cup is part of a programme of community engagement projects, and aims to reduce the number of deliberate fires across the North East. The region sees twice the national average for deliberate primary fires (a fire that causes damage or effects to property or human life) and 3.5 times the national average for secondary fires, which places unnecessary pressure on emergency services.

In recent years, the fire services have seen an increase of attacks on crews, which can make responding to a fire more dangerous. We are hoping to reduce the number of deliberate fires and attacks through education and diversionary activates like the Kicks Community Cup.”

TWFRS received donations from Nandos, Greggs, Sainsbury’s and Tesco who provided refreshments and prizes for all the participants. The businesses agreed that remaining donations would be given to food banks in and around the Sunderland area.

Kevin Ball presented a number of prizes to participants and the overall winners of the tournament was The North East Ambulance Service (NEAS) who also provided safety demonstrations to the participants. Leanne Keen from NEAS said “It’s a great initiative and we were delighted to take part in this event, in particular joining colleagues from other emergency services.”

 Inspector Steve Prested, of Northumbria Police, who also supported the event said: “This was a fantastic event and a great example of partners working together to help spread the same important message.

“Throughout the Bonfire Period, our officers have visited schools to remind young people that while this time of year is full of fun and excitement for some, other members of the community can feel intimidated and frightened.

“We will continue to work hard to tackle any reports of anti-social behaviour, and that zero-tolerance approach is only possible by working alongside our partners and the communities we serve.”