AN ABERYSTWYTH school will be among the first in Wales to deliver the new Lidl Play More Football initiative, an innovate youth football programme launched this week and supported by Wales manager Chris Coleman.
Lidl Play More Football has been developed in partnership between Lidl, the Football Association of Wales and the Welsh Football Trust. Ysgol Penglais in Aberystwyth, along with four other schools from the Mid Wales region, will be among the first to sign up in phase one of the programme.
Lidl Play More Football will develop young people to provide them with the skills to plan, organise and deliver inclusive, fun and easyto- 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.
The programme 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 student ‘Directors of Football’, providing them with the facilities, equipment and training to enable them to lead and run football activities in their secondary schools.
The peer-led football activities will engage 10,000 young people in secondary schools across Wales on a weekly basis. Additional weekly primary school sessions, launching in September 2016, will introduce a further 20,000 children to get active, learn new skills and enjoy the game.
Wales manager Chris Coleman, speaking from the launch event at Dragon Park, 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.
“I’m delighted to see schools from Aberystwyth and Mid Wales taking the lead and becoming some of the first to deliver the Lidl Play More Football programme.
I’m certain many other schools will follow as a result. The 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 young people in Wales and so I’m delighted to give my backing to the launch of this smart new initiative.”
Jonathan Ford, CEO of the FA 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, the initiative will encourage participation of young people, including who do not currently play the game, and will also develop a new generation of young coaches and leaders in Wales.
“I’m very pleased to see schools from all over Wales taking the lead in signing up to deliver the programme. Tens of thousands of young people will benefit from Lidl Play More Football and we have no doubt that this programme 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.”
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 Lidl Play More Football please visit: www.welshfootballtrust.org.uk/LidlPlayMore