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Cambridge United back no smoking campaign Kick Ash

An innovative no smoking programme led by young people in Cambridgeshire has scored winning support from its local football club - Cambridge United.

Kick Ash, an award-winning campaign led by young people to prevent smoking in under 16’s across the county is being endorsed by the club who will be promoting the initative in its programme, website and newsletter.

Supported by a partnership involving Cambridgeshire County Council, Cambridgeshire PSHE service and Everyone Health’s CAMQUIT Stop Smoking Service, the programme works with 10 secondary schools across the county and their partner primary schools to encourage all young people to be proud to be smoke free, discourage young people from starting to smoke and supporting those who want to quit.

Up to 30 young peer mentors aged 15 are recruited in each school to lead the work in their school and the community.

Since launching in 2009, 952 year 10 students have been trained in county secondary schools to become Kick Ash mentors, who provide informal support to young people who want information and advice on smoking as well as supporting an education programme for year 6 pupils in partner primary schools and year 8 pupils in secondary schools.

Figures from the 2016/17 evaluation show the prevalence of self-reported smoking in Year 10 students is decreasing across Cambridgeshire, with only 10.2 per cent reporting they are current smokers in 2016 compared to 16.6 per cent in 2010.

The evaluation also showed that prevalence of current smoking in Year 10 students has reduced more in Kick Ash schools than in other schools in Cambridgeshire with a reduction of 13 per cent every two years in Kick Ash schools compared with 7 per cent in other schools.

Cllr Peter Hudson, Cambridgeshire County Council Health Committee chairman, said: “I am thrilled that Cambridge United is backing the Kick Ash programme. Their support will serve as inspiration to young people and show what can be achieved if you look after your health and wellbeing. By working together we hope to change young people’s perceptions of smoking and encourage more schools to sign up.”

Two Kick Ash mentors from Swavesey Village College recently met Cambridge United footballers Sam Squire and David Amoo during a training session to talk to them about the programme and the club’s support of its smoke free message.

Andy Farrer, Health and Inclusion Officer at Cambridge United Community Trust, the charitable arm of the football club, stated: “We are delighted to be supporting the Kick Ash campaign, hoping that the Cambridge United players will act as positive role models for local young people. We hope that we can play a small role in encouraging young people to be proud to stop smoking and see an improvement in the health of regular smokers across Cambridgeshire.”

Watch the Youtube video here: Youtube video -

Mental Health Drop Ins

Cambridge United Football Club, through Cambridge United Community Trust have partnered with Cambridgeshire County Council to provide two days at the Abbey Stadium for mental health drop in sessions.

The drop ins are for either parents who would like to talk about any social, emotional or mental health difficulties their child is having or young people aged 16 – 25 experiencing social, emotional or mental health difficulties. Parents are welcome to attend with their child if they’d like.

The drops ins will be hosted by Educational and Child psychologists that work for the Special Educational Needs and Disability Service (0 – 25) at Cambridgeshire County Council. The psychologists are all registered with the Health and Care Professions Council.

Tom Hughes, Senior Educational and Child Psychologist at Cambridgeshire County Council, stated: “Our experience shows that parents and young people value drop in sessions as a good chance to have an informal chat about any concerns regarding their emotional health and wellbeing. They are a chance to share what’s been going on and do some joint planning as to what might help.”

Andy Farrer, Health and Inclusion officer at Cambridge United Community Trust, said: “At all levels of the football club, there is an increased awareness of the importance of our mental health. This is another great opportunity for local people in our community to be welcomed into the Abbey Stadium.”

The drop in sessions will be taking place at the Abbey Stadium, on the 21st of June and 2nd of July. Each slot is 40 minutes long and free to attend, however there must be a booking to to sign up.

Cambridge United support Street Child World Cup 2018 in Moscow

The Street Child World Cup is a football tournament for children all over the world who have experienced homelessness or are considered at risk of living on the streets. The tournament is much more than a game. The aims of the Street Child World Cup are to use the power of football to raise awareness and tackle the widespread stigma faced by street-connected children, inspiring countries, governments and communities to better protect, respect and support street-connected children worldwide. This was the Third Street Child World Cup, taking place every four years before the FIFA World Cup.

Last year, Cambridge United Football Club announced its long-term partnership with international charity Street Child United, working to help improve lives of the world’s most vulnerable children. As part of this partnership, Cambridge United are working with Street Child United to raise awareness of the Street Child World Cup. This was carried out through match day activities, school-based assemblies, ongoing fundraising challenges and attending the worldwide tournaments.

Cambridge United Community Trust’s Health and Inclusion Officer, Andy Farrer, was in Russia to represent and provide support from Cambridge United for the 2018 Street Child World Cup tournament. He said: “The Street Child World Cup provides a brilliant platform for young people’s voices to be heard across the world. It was amazing to meet the inspiring young people, who are so passionate about seeing a change in the way street-connected children are treated across the world. We hope that our support from Cambridge United will continue to raise awareness for street-connected children in the future.”

More than 200 street-connected children from across the world came together in Russia for their own boys and girls international football tournaments, festival of arts and Congress for their rights. The tournament saw equal boys’ and girls’ teams represent their countries, with Brazil winning the girls tournament and Uzbekistan winning the boys. Both finals were streamed live, with over 122,000 people tuning in to watch, creating a global platform for young people’s voices to be heard.

A further link between the two organisations is being shown with Cambridge United Community Trust CEO, Ben Szreter, taking part in Street Child United’s #Challenge14. To donate to this challenge for Street Child United please visit

Read more from Street Child United’s website or follow their social media here:

Cambridge United establish school mental health project ‘Mind Your Head’

Cambridge United have established a new secondary school mental health project to improve well-being and help young people deal better with stress and anxiety. The ‘Mind Your Head’ pilot has been running since January 2018 in 5 central Cambridge secondary schools and will have reached 600 young people by the end of this summer term. It is part of the Club’s wider commitment to promoting positive mental health at the Club and in the community. The Club is announcing the project to coincide with Mental Health Awareness Week.

‘Mind Your Head’ is delivered through Cambridge United Community Trust in partnership with Cambridge youth mental-health charity Centre 33. The programme provides lessons that destigmatize mental health, educate young people about how to deal with stress and also encourage young people to discuss how social media can both positively and negatively affect their well-being. The programme uses the brand of Cambridge United as well as video content and lesson visits from footballers as part of the programme. The 'Mind Your Head’ Programme was initiated and funded by Inc., a long-term club sponsor, together with two private donors

Josh Turner, one of the pupils taking part from Trumpington Community College said: “Footballers coming in to tell us about mental health is actually quite profound because they are people that children look up to and they are some people’s idols. Them telling us that they sometimes can struggle with mental health is good to listen to and good for our own understanding.”

Sam Squire, a Cambridge United scholar who has been actively involved at schools said, “It’s important for Cambridge United to focus on mental health in schools as that’s when issues such as social media can challenge young people’s confidence and resilience. As a football club we can hopefully use our respected position in society to help destigmatize mental health and promote positive mental health.

Dickon Bevington, Medical Director at the Anna Freud Centre and a Consultant Psychiatrist for Cambridgeshire and Peterborough NHS Foundation Trust said: “In sport it is quite 'normal' to talk about strains and fractures to bones and ligaments, but if we can make it just as normal to talk about the strains and fractures that can happen in anyone's mind, this will open the door to getting earlier help for many young people, protecting them against developing more serious conditions. I applaud Cambridge United and its energetic campaign to achieve this. There is no health without mental health, and no place where it isn't appropriate to think about our thinking and our feelings; this is how we create true and winning performance, both on and off the pitch, and all credit to the players and management at the club who have backed this project with such enthusiasm and courage.”

Graham Daniels, Director of Football at Cambridge United and Chair of Cambridge United Community Trust said: “We want Cambridge United to take a leadership position on mental health within the game and within our community. Everyone has mental health. We can all have our ups and downs. We believe it is particularly important to help equip young people with the skills to deal with the challenges they inevitably face as they grow up. It all forms part of our wider effort as a Club to show the positive power of football throughout the community."


Cambridge City Council have recently released a public consultation on a proposed new Parkrun on Coldham’s Common giving local residents, runners and other interested parties the chance to comment on the proposal.

Parkrun is a free 5km timed run that takes place on Saturday mornings at 9am every week at over 500 locations around the country. Currently, there are two Parkrun venues near Cambridge – one at Milton Country Park and one at Wimpole Hall – and because of their increasing popularity the race is on to find another suitable location, preferably near the centre of Cambridge. Coldham’s Common has therefore been identified as a potential site.

Cambridge United Community Trust are particularly excited by this proposal, as Coldham’s Common is on the doorstep of the Abbey Stadium.

Simon Wall, Cambridge United Community Trust’s Community Liaison Officer and member of the core team trying to bring Parkrun to Coldham’s Common, explained: “A Parkrun in the heart of the Abbey Ward will make such a difference. It won’t just give local people the opportunity to get fit on their doorstep, but will also open up the chance for them to volunteer and become part of a fantastic, friendly community.”

Matt Walker, Cambridge United’s Head of Performance, is a passionate supporter of Parkrun and added: “I love Parkrun. As a former PE teacher one of the biggest challenges is getting lifelong physically active young people and breaking down beliefs that exercise, activity and sport are all the same thing. The beauty of Parkrun… that it is all inclusive from top runner to novice, young to old, in great shape to wanting to start being active. You can compete against others if you want, compete against yourself if you want or simply be externally motivated by a regular commitment to turn up and move once a week. The physical and mental health benefits are enormous, I have seen people I know transformed by Parkrun and my own children get the bug of wanting to go every week. The sense of welcome, community and non-judgemental outlook is fantastic. The more of these in local communities the better.”

Cambridge United and Coldham’s Common have a longstanding connection. The Stadium Manager and Head Groundsman, Ian Darler, recalled: “…the players here at the stadium in the late 70s and early 1980s used the common on a regular basis for their stamina work. It was known as the common run by the players and used to take them around thirteen minutes to complete.”

The consultation ends on Saturday, 2nd June. To contribute to the survey please follow the link: or you can request a hard copy from the Customer Service Centre at Mandela House, Regent Street.

Proposed route for Coldham’s Common Parkrun