Scoring goals for kids

With the LEAP Community Award, Kids Can Kick has given children the chance to learn football and develop key skills.

Dani is the founder of Kids Can Kick, a grassroots organisation supporting the wellbeing of young children through football.

The project improves how children think, explore, and solve problems – as well as benefitting their physical health. It also supports the health and wellbeing of parents and families, helping them to form new friendships and feel connected to the local community.

Dani has extensive experience in football coaching. He wanted to use the LEAP Award to offer free sessions to early year’s children, providing activities to combat the isolation many families have felt during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Overcoming difficulties

This year has been a challenging one for Dani, as adapting to changing restrictions has been a test.

Early on, Dani realised it would be difficult to keep early years children engaged through virtual learning. To resolve this, he arranged some initial one-to-one introduction classes with parents in the community. These made the transition to online teaching much smoother. Parents could take a more active role with their children in the virtual sessions because of the skills he was able to teach them in-person.

The response from participants has been overwhelming, and Dani has been able to work with and bring together more families in the community.

Making a difference

For young children, the potential impact of the pandemic is huge. Being isolated from normal social interaction can delay cognitive and emotional development and raise physical health concerns. For Dani, this is what drives the work he does.

We want to create an environment to bridge the gaps in child development that have been missed during the pandemic.

The most rewarding part of the project has been hearing stories from parents and guardians. They have expressed how important the sessions have been for them and their children, particularly given the challenges faced this year. Dani wants to keep up this momentum and continue to use football to support the community.

We have never experienced this before and so we must give children the support they need to make up for it.