FreeKicks CIC aims to tackle barriers (actual or perceived) to sport/physical activity that communities face, in inspiring and imaginative ways. Their key focus is tackling inequalities of access to sport and physical activity that have occurred as a result of socio-economic issues, as well as using sport as a tool to provide employment and volunteering opportunities.
Margaret Rizza, founder of FreeKicks CIC has a long sporting history, having worked on the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow and later becoming involved in grassroots football. It was this experience that highlighted to Margaret the many barriers that people experience when accessing sport.
“Cost wasn’t the only barrier to becoming involved – children are often ranked ‘good players’ or not very early on in Clubs and this often puts children and parents off from becoming engaged in team sports. Free Kicks is there to offer an alternative to the entry level of grassroots sport. We are there to inspire and support children and their parents to play, watch, and coach football as well as to support them getting involved at team level if they so desire. Finally, we are there to provide a root into outdoor fun sport and physical activity for all; in all weathers, and we want to do this at the very lowest cost (free if and when possible).”
Top Tips for future social entrepreneurs:
My main tip would be seeking as much help as possible. Speak to others who have gone through the journey. Check out with the professionals, and join GSEN- they are a wealth of support, advice, and knowledge.
Do your research and your sums before you dive in……remember you are there to deliver social benefit and to help improve your community (however that is defined), but your sums must add up and you are still running a business so have a clear (and very simple) business plan in place to keep you focussed (it is very easy to drift and try to solve all of societies challenges).
What have you found challenging setting up your social enterprise?
“Not to drift and try to solve all of societies challenges! I have found that the more I engage with my community the more I think we (Free Kicks) can help sort out their challenges. In my first months I started to drift too quickly into other activities and many, many community meetings which distracted me from my core purpose – getting kids outside engaging in physical activities (with a specific focus on football)!! So I then had to spend time pulling back from other activities and concentrate on what we intended to do. This wasted time, energy and resources.”
What are your hopes for the future?
I hope that Free Kicks can inspire children and their parents to go outdoors and to engage in football. We would like to showcase to the professional football world that kids can be great footballers, amazing football fans, and be inspired to coach without all the trimmings of designer/branded kit; even if they cannot afford fees for Club level football.
Finally, we want Clubs to ensure that ALL children have the opportunity to play and have fun in sport. And it would be lovely for Free Kicks to have supported someone from our community to reach professional sport and for them to get there without all the trimmings.
Not too much to ask we hope!!