Deborah and Tracy were there at the start of KickOff@3 having met Michael Wallace in 2014 and encouraged him to sign up to the Metropolitan Black Police Association, inviting him to the 2015 London Conference. This engagement enabled his dream of creating a youth engagement programme, with co-founder, Ashley Levein, which would enhance lives, enable collaboration between Police and young people, reduce violent crime and create job opportunities.
The collaboration quickly produced the model for KickOff@3, Deborah and Tracy being fundamental in producing ideas as to the running of events. They remain the heart and soul, the crew keeping the ship afloat, hidden in the engine room away from the sunshine, attractions and amazing football which the rest of us enjoy.
Matchday for them begins over an hour before the teams arrive, setting up the check point, updating their records and collating team packs for distribution over the next couple of hours, ensuring that each team's Police Leads register their teams, know where they need to be and when and have the vouchers they need to obtain free food and drink to sustain. Throughout the day they are a point of contact for everyone, the founders, the board members, teams, referees and medics – ensuring that, via their network of runners, the call for medical assistance is speedily made via the PA system.
They also designed and maintain the spreadsheets which track the tournament and quickly identify which teams will play off for winners and runners-up in the two age categories. This is seamlessly done with the help of a team of Police Cadets monitoring each match and reporting the results in a matter of moments. This ensures that there is no delay at the end of the league stage in identifying the play-off participants.
Such is their humility that they do all of this in the background, quietly, efficiently and with great humour and humanity. On being presented with tokens of esteem at the closing ceremony they were engagingly humble, merely stating their joy at being part of the KickOff@3 family. Everyone but the founders, board, Police Leads and organisers have no idea of the fact that without these ladies there would be no KickOff@3 and certainly no smoothly run tournaments.
Verity first met Michael and Ashley in 2017 in her role with The OLLIE Foundation. During her time at OLLIE she worked closely alongside Michael and Ashley and has continued to support KickOff@3 ever since.
Verity's KickOff@3 journey has seen her visit MET HQ and speak to many of the KickOff@3 family, she's met MET Commissioner Cressida Dick, been part of numerous charity events, given her perspective on strategy and planning, helped out with media and marketing and more recently has taken on the updating of the website as a volunteer.
Verity now works for GamCare, the leading provider of support for anyone affected by problem gambling in Great Britain, as a Youth Outreach Officer.
Following a varied 30 year career in both private and public sectors, my final role was as Performance and IT Manager at the Dorset Devon and Cornwall CRC, whilst ensuring the smooth transition to the current Probation systems (known as Transforming Rehabilitation).
The new organisation held a celebratory event, at which I met Steven Duncan, Spoken Word Artist in Social and Criminal Justice and school friend of Michael Wallace (below). 2 years later, Steve introduced me to KickOff@3 and immediately knew I had to help.
In June 2018, Steve invited me to attend the Finale Event at The Warren and I fell in love with how closely the ethos fit to the path identified in my degree research into reducing crime amongst our young people. Engaging, befriending, identifying work/training opportunities and leading by example are the key elements to avoiding a life of crime, but the exciting part of KickOff@3 is that the adults befriending the youngsters are local serving police officers. Once introduced to Michael, I began to publicise their work via Social Media and soon found that my lack of a coherent career path fit me perfectly to support the many administrative tasks required to support a constantly growing not-for-profit organisation.
In the intervening year I completed my BSc in Criminology and Psychology and alongside my work with a local child protection charity, began to provide back room support for
KickOff@3. It is the joy of my life to be part of the KickOff@3 family and help drive this unique and timely project further across the UK and beyond, helping to prove that our
communities have the biggest role in crime prevention, not our justice system.
P.S. Meeting our lovely supporter, Colin Salmon at this year's Finale was a wonderful bonus (above).
Sofia La Monica, is an aspiring photographer, studying a two year course in photography which is an extended diploma! Since starting to volunteer Sofia has attended a number of events as a volunteer photographer, as well as being awarded a Certificate of Recognition from the Violent Crime Prevention Board and KickOff@3 for being an exceptional young person and role-model.
Sofia says: "KickOff@3 is giving me lots of experience with photography and i’m so excited to carry on volunteering with them.".
If you want to see more of Sofia's work head to her IG account @sofialamonicaphotography
I am a sports science graduate employed by Topshop Oxford Circus Global Flagship store. I like to exercise, brush up on my language skills (French and Italian) and read (from social media to fiction/non fiction books).
Through a friend, I heard word of the KickOff@3 and helped out at the tournament finals in July 2019. I've grown up knowing that helping people can be self-fulfilling in the long run, despite how heavy the duties may seem to oneself at any given time. Therefore, I had no second thoughts to help out at the event. Especially when it's run by like-minded people who want to help positively reinforce a community that have so many backgrounds, characteristics and profiles that can naturally go against or strengthen one another collectively.
My name is Sofia, I'm 23 years old and an aspiring environmental consultant. Graduating university with a degree in Geography and a diploma in International Studies, my passions revolve around travel, cultural and social exchange, and of course, working towards a more sustainable and better-connected world. Naturally, my love for community work and volunteering has stemmed from these interests and I have actively participated in charity projects prior to joining the KickOff@3 team.
Fond of writing and creating short-stories, I felt I could contribute to this project via a regular blog for the KickOff@3 website, focusing on issues surrounding the inclusivity of sport, mental health and lifestyle and well-being, whilst keeping in mind youth at the heart of it all. Furthermore, as someone who believes positive engagement between all people makes a better world to live in, I support greatly KickOff@3's core ethos of building strong and lasting relationships between younger members of the community and those who live in the wider community and serve as their protecting officers. To achieve this, I'll also bring my knowledge and experience of running careers and opportunity fairs and online conferences to help support all youth involved with KickOff@3 and solidify these important relationships. Through hard work, team effort and a lot of fun, we can achieve everything KickOff@3 believes in, and I am very excited to be a part of it all.
My name is Trinoi Hartwell and I am currently a student/ aspiring footballer. I am 18 years old and currently play for Brentford U19s. The opportunity for me to play at Brentford was presented to me through playing at the first KickOff@3 tournament in Surrey. In the tournament I was noticed by Michael Wallace who spoke to Brentford Coaches Kevin Lema and Ryan Peters, who offered me a trial, where I was successful. Since playing for Brentford I have been able to gain a football education and school education (at West Thames College) getting a D*D*D* and a successful offer for Coventry University to study Sports and Exercise Therapy.
Through volunteering at KickOff@3 I have met a variety of different people and been given various opportunities. For example in one tournament I was assigned to look after the special guests: Dr Neville Lawrence and Dr Angela Herbert MBE. This led to me being invited to a VCPB event where I met Amani Simpson. KickOff@3 aims to help young people around the world no matter their race, ethnicity or religion and I’m blessed to be a part of that.
Hi. I’m Clodagh and I am 12 years old.
I have a lot of hobbies, for example - Netball and Football. My favourite moments in netball are when I get to play netball with my friends and when we win our matches!! My favourite moments in football are when I get to train with all my friends and when I learn new football skills! Also, when I get to play my matches on the weekend with my friends - that’s the best bit!
My least favourite moment in sport is when I lose.
I also like to read. One of my favourite books Is ‘Boy In The Striped Pyjamas’. In the book the family move to the woods near a concentration camp because their Dad is secretly a Nazi working for Adolf Hitler trying to kill all Jewish people. The Dad’s son Bruno… one day decides to go and explore the new surroundings of where he lives and soon comes across the camp. There, he makes a friend, who is actually in the camp. His name is Schmuel. Bruno decides he wants to go into the camp to be with his friend . He digs a hole and when he gets in, he puts a spare pair of striped pyjamas on. Later, he gets picked to go on a march. He never returns.
Thank you for listening and I’m so excited to be a volunteer of Kickoff@3. Thank you ;]