By Dan King - Newcastle United Club Reporter
The Newcastle United Foundation were among the biggest winners as volunteers, mentors and youngsters were honoured at the 2013 Kickz Awards ceremony at Stamford Bridge this week.
Former Tottenham Hotspur and Juventus midfielder Edgar Davids, Chelsea defender Paulo Ferreira and England ladies international Rachel Yankey were among the guests at Tuesday's ceremony as the Magpies' official charity scooped four awards.
With 7,775 volunteers helping over 68,000 participants in over 100 Kickz projects over the last year, the scheme has inspired youngsters to achieve over 9,000 qualifications and accreditations and, with the backing of 46 football clubs, 20 police forces nationwide and over 650 partners, more than 500 people have gained employment with clubs.
Steve Mack from the Foundation won the Inspiring Person (Male) award while the Foundation's refereeing course scooped the Innovation Award.
Mounir Bouisri was recognised in the Volunteer Award category while Joe Deverdics was given an Inspiring Young Person award.
He said: "Kickz is brilliant, it really is. It gets people in who would usually be hanging around on the streets on a Friday or a Saturday night, brings them in to play football for nothing.
"I had no career plans beforehand but after going to Kickz I got myself into college, I got my coaching badge and now I'm going to go into coaching. I want to become a full-time coach and if I'm good enough maybe even become a professional referee."
The ceremony was opened by the Foundation's street dance girls and Newcastle were also nominated for Outstanding Kickz Delivery, but lost out to Portsmouth.
Sergeant Graeme Donachie of Northumbria Police praised the work done by the Foundation in the west end of Newcastle.
He said: "The area is currently experiencing a 25 per cent reduction in anti-social behaviour for this year and Kickz plays a big part in helping the police achieve this.
"More specifically I am pleased to confirm that on average there are sixty per cent fewer incidents of anti social behaviour in the west end of Newcastle on Fridays (when Kickz takes place at the Westgate Centre) than on Saturdays, which I am convinced is due to the success of Kickz in attracting large numbers of youths from the west end to the project."
The Kickz Awards 2013 winners were:
Inspiring Person (Male)
Steve Mack, Newcastle United Foundation
Inspiring Person (Female)
Danielle Towner, Crystal Palace FC Foundation
Outstanding Police Contribution (London)
PCSO Carlos Husbands, Chelsea Foundation
Outstanding Police Contribution (Non-London)
Sergeant Steve Hodgkins, Blackpool FC Community Sports Trust
Outstanding Partner Support
Chris Hodge, Tottenham Hotspur Foundation, Rushcroft Sports College
Inspiring Young Person
All 46 clubs recognised
Newcastle United Foundation, Refereeing Course
Kane Lewis, Chelsea Foundation
Mohsin Dawood, Brentford FC Community Sports Trust
46 clubs recognised
Craig King, Blackpool FC Community Trust
Outstanding Kickz Delivery
Pompey in the Community (Portsmouth FC)