by Sofia Eugeniou
It has been a busy year for KickOff@3; the non-profit sports organisation co-founded by a police officer and a bus driver with the goal of building better and lasting relationships between young people and their serving police force.
While KickOff@3 typically hosts football tournaments across the country for young people and the police force to participate in (as well as basketball tournaments under the name TipOff@3), the unfortunate and challenging emergence of Covid-19 in early 2020 has meant the organisation has had to adapt the way it operates in order to keep youth engagement up and donations that keep KickOff@3 up and running, coming in.
With creative juices flowing amongst the team behind KickOff@3 including its cofounders, youth volunteers and numerous ambassadors, the idea for a social distancing cycling challenge came to mind. From 3 June to 10 June KickOff@3 held ‘SpinOff@3’ for people of all ages and abilities to participate in. The project not only kept young people and their family and friends healthy and engaged but raised money for various charities in the St Albans area, including ones to help alleviate homelessness and support those suffering from mental health issues. With great weather to accompany and promotion from Radio Verulam who are long-time supporters of KickOff@3, the project was great fun and a big success.
Continuing to keep things Covid-19 safe, KickOff@3 launched its latest project ‘RunOff@3’ between 4 July to 4 August 2020. As usual, an open invitation was sent out to individuals across the UK asking them and their households to join this fundraising initiative by either running, walking or wheeling any distance of their choice between the months of July and August. All participant donations were redirected to leading blood cancer charity ACLT. With the pandemic hitting charities hard in recent months, KickOff@3’s support managed to raise over £5,000 for the ACLT charity. The final leg of the project took place in the form of a bike ride that started from West Hampstead and ended in Hyde Park. Some members of Yarnee Clothing, KickOff@3’s latest partner with a fantastic ethos and clothing brand to match, attended in support.
As well as Yarnee Clothing, KickOff@3 has continued to welcome youth volunteers and ambassadors from a range of social, professional and academic backgrounds onto its team to help plan, promote and achieve the ideas, initiatives and goals of KickOff@3. To document the work and efforts of KickOff@3, Wendell Daniel (who operates under the name of StreetMic), in recent weeks has been commissioned to film and follow KickOff@3 and the journey it continues to take. Through Wendell and other creatives, including graphic designers and photographers who continue to support KickOff@3 in any way they can, we aim to show others who are less aware of KickOff@3 who we are, what we do, and why our work is so important.
It has been an exciting, challenging and busy year for KickOff@3, and the initiatives don’t stop and won’t stop just yet. With ideas for a barbershop project to help mental health among vulnerable individuals in the St Albans area, an upcoming football tournament on September 12th, and the adapted yearly National Finale happening on October 18th to look forward to, the team behind KickOff@3 and all of its supporters will be kept busy for the time being.