One of the passions embedded within the KickOff@3 ethos is inclusivity. Both Michael and Ashley have family members with learning disabilities, with Michael’s son being on the Autistic Spectrum. This has given Michael and Ashley first-hand experience of the challenges and discrimination particular groups of our communities face every day.
When founding KickOff@3 they both pledged to make KickOff@3 an all-abilities inclusive project. This inclusiveness spans abilities, gender, sexuality, age, race and religion. Each person is seen as an individual, and there are opportunities for everyone.
This commitment is demonstrated by their involvement with The Collett School. Collett is Hertfordshire's only all-through special educational needs school for children with Learning Disabilities and complex needs including ASD, MLD and SLCN.
In addition to fundraising for Collett, KickOff@3 also rigorously encourage Collett students and parents/guardians to become part of the KickOff@3 community, whether that be as footballers, volunteers or guests.
KickOff@3 has been watching the tragic events unfolding in the USA and the #BlackLivesMatter campaigning in the UK. During these times, we want to say that we do not condone racism and inequality, and we stand together with those protesting to raise awareness and challenge injustice.
As proud cofounders of KickOff@3, Michael Wallace and Ashley Levien have always ensured that the activities, workshops and tournaments held by KickOff@3 have been totally inclusive. This ethos applies now more than ever.
We are supportive of the movement and will do our best to ensure awareness is spread on the matter. We are also aware that the current situation will be on the minds of many people, those outside of the black and ethnic-minority community, too. We are proud of everyone within the diverse and multicultural society we live in that is taking a stand against racial injustice nationally and across the world.
With many protesters coming from a younger background or being students, we recognise you and support you, also. We hope that everyone stays safe, keeps to the social distancing guidelines, and continues to protest as peacefully as possible – violence begets violence and that is something we do not condone at KickOff@3.
With the COVID-19 pandemic sweeping across the nation, we know how hard battling the virus, and now the growing campaign for racial equality has been. We must use our collective strength and sense of community to make more progress and never give up on the cause.