Nathan Ainsbury, 19, has been named as the Premier League Kicks Hero for Nottingham Forest. Nathan will be awarded with a personalised Premier League Kicks Hero comic illustration, as part of the Premier League’s 10-year celebration of the programme as well as his very own in-form player card.
Premier League Kicks is a youth outreach programme with the aim to create safer, stronger and more respectful communities through the development of young peoples’ potential, whilst giving young people access to facilities, coaching and mentoring.
In its first decade, Premier League Kicks has engaged more than 180,000 young people in weekly football, sport and personal development sessions held at local community venues across the UK. 68 Premier League, English Football League and National League clubs now run the programme.
Nathan Ainsbury attended his first Kicks session at Clifton in July 2015. At the time, Nathan was involved with a group of young people who used drugs socially and committed anti-social behaviour.
Premier League Kicks sessions provided an alternative way for Nathan to spend his evenings and his passion for sport helped him to quickly adopt a more positive lifestyle.
Nathan began volunteering with Kicks and subsequently became member of staff on Nottingham Forest’s Kicks programme at Clifton. He is now enrolled in an apprenticeship with the Nottingham Forest Community Trust and has gained his gym instructor Level 1 qualification.
Nathan’s determination and resilience have been recognised by the club and the Premier League. His story has been immortalised in a comic strip illustration designed by Marvel and DC Comics artist John McCrea. The comic illustration shows Nathan encouraging youths to join the Premier League Kicks programme as an alternative to engaging in anti-social behaviour.
Nottingham Forest’s Kicks Hero, Nathan Ainsbury said:
“I’m really pleased with the comic illustration, I hope my story can inspire other young people to join the programme and take the right path.”
Declan Barker, Premier League Projects Manager at Nottingham Forest, said:
“Nathan’s story is a great example of the positive effect that Kicks is having on individuals and the local community and I hope it inspires other young people to engage in the programme.
“Nathan is a really inspirational individual and we’re delighted to be able to present him with this award and comic illustration in recognition of his commitment and resilience.”
Premier League Executive Chairman Richard Scudamore said:
“Premier League Kicks delivers sessions for young people where they are needed most, connecting football clubs with their communities in a meaningful and sustainable way.”
“The Kicks Heroes campaign allows us to highlight some of those inspiring individual stories – like Nathan’s – and celebrate their achievements and thank the 68 Premier League, English Football League and National League clubs currently delivering the programme.”