Wales Manager Chris Coleman joined secondary school children at Dragon Park today to celebrate the launch of ‘Lidl Play More Football’, a ground-breaking new initiative launched by Lidl, the Football Association of Wales and the Welsh Football Trust.
Through the partnership, Lidl Play More Football will develop young people to provide them with the skills to plan, organise and deliver inclusive, fun and easy-to-play football activities to engage their peers who do not currently play the game. An increased focus will also be placed on encouraging more young girls to participate in the sport.
Lidl Play More Football is the first of its kind to be launched in Wales and will enable 30,000 young people to play football nationwide over the next three years whilst also developing the next generation of coaches and leaders. Research suggests football is the most in-demand sport for young people in Wales, yet 37%* of young people aged 7-16 years old would currently like to play but feel they do not have the opportunity.
Lidl’s investment will create 1,000 young ‘Directors of Football’, providing them with the facilities, equipment and training to enable them to lead and run football activities in their secondary schools. Supported by teacher mentors, the Directors of Football will be able to develop their leadership skills, grow in confidence and apply learnings to other areas of their lives.
The peer-led weekly secondary school sessions will introduce 10,000 young people to football, whilst additional weekly primary school activity sessions, launching in September 2016, will engage a further 20,000 children to get active, learn new skills and enjoy the game.
Wales manager Chris Coleman, speaking after participating in one of the Lidl Play More Football sessions, said: “Interest in the Wales national team is higher than ever thanks to our qualification for Euro 2016 so it’s fantastic that Lidl, the FA of Wales and the Welsh Football Trust have recognised the unique opportunity we have to grow football in Wales. The Lidl Play More Football programme can capitalise on our nation’s excitement to engage more young people to participate in football, through both leading sessions and playing. I’m passionate about creating football opportunities for all young people in Wales and so I’m delighted to join Lidl and Welsh Football in the launch of this smart new initiative.”
Jonathan Ford, CEO of the Football Association of Wales, added: “We are extremely excited to partner with Lidl, who are clearly committed to developing football opportunities on a local level. Currently, over 67,000* young people in Wales already participate in football, but the FA of Wales and Welsh Football Trust want to increase this figure to 200,000 by 2024. Through its ground-breaking delivery, this initiative will encourage participation of young people who do not currently play the game and will also develop a new generation of young coaches and leaders in Wales. We have no doubt that Lidl Play More Football will set the standard for youth football initiatives in Wales and beyond.”
Ryan McDonnell, Lidl UK Purchasing Director said: “This is a fantastic new initiative that allows Lidl to get involved in grassroots football, giving boys and girls the opportunity to immerse themselves in the game. Through our broad network of stores across Wales, we have access to so many communities and this partnership will allow us to build on that and give something back.”
The young people attending the launch event were from Prestatyn High School, Prestatyn, and Olchfa School in Sketty, Swansea. Many more schools in regions throughout Wales have signed up to take part in phase one of the programme.
By partnering with the FA of Wales, Lidl will also provide a platform to communicate the benefits of football to more boys, girls and their families, creating lasting and positive change. Lidl is committed to supporting families in achieving a balanced lifestyle, helping children get active through football and offering fresh produce for nutritious meals to suit any budget.
For information on how to register for Play More Football please visit: http://welshfootballtrust.org.uk/LidlPlayMore.ink.