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Special Projects

Literacy Kicks has worked with a number of football and rugby league clubs to deliver bespoke and award-winning projects in different areas of the country. The programmes have seen children become real-life sports journalists at professional events, engaging communities with their local sports clubs and delivering positive outcomes.

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Sheffield Eagles

In May 2024, Literacy Kicks, working in partnership with the Sheffield Eagles Sporting Foundation, was awarded the ‘Celebrating Sporting Heritage in Schools Award’.


Recognised as part of the Sporting Heritage Awards, the joint project marked the 25th anniversary of Sheffield Eagles’ iconic Challenge Cup final win over Wigan at Wembley in 1998.

Literacy Kicks developed a bespoke lesson which informed primary school children in the city about the historic event, and then provided them with the writing tools to create their own newspaper articles. They were joined in classrooms by Sheffield Eagles coaches Mark Aston and Keith Senior; two members of the 1998 winning side who offered unique insights into their underdog win against cup kings Wigan.

The project was funded by a grant from the National Lottery Heritage Fund and saw over 650 primary school children take part.

Ashton United

In 2022 and 2023, Literacy Kicks partnered with Ashton United in the Community, Smallshaw Hurst Children’s Community and Save the Children to provide six-week programmes for over 250 primary and secondary school children in the town. 

Funded with the help of a grant from the Trident Foundation, a charity linked to National League North sponsors Pitching In, it culminated with children attending an Ashton United match to become sports journalists for the day and produce their own reports. See the write up here.

As part of the project, the Smallshaw Hurst Children’s Community carried out independent data on the impact that the six-week programmes had, with remarkable results.

Of the 179 primary school children that took part, 78 percent said that they enjoyed writing more after completing the Literacy Kicks course, and 61 percent said it enhanced their enjoyment of reading. The project also impacted positively on pupils’ careers aspirations, with 48 percent of primary school children and 33 percent of secondary school pupils reporting that it had made them consider different careers.

In addition, every single teacher involved with the project said that they would recommend Literacy Kicks to other schools.

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Marine FC

In 2024 Literacy Kicks repeated the programme in association with Marine FC, where another 120 primary school pupils took part in six-week sports journalism courses.

Two phases of the project ended with children attending Marine FC matches and becoming sports writers for the day, which attracted media attention from the nationally-distributed Non-League Paper.


Chris Eglin, Year 5 teacher at Valewood Primary in Crosby, said: “The whole class loved Literacy Kicks and were engaged, excited and motivated to write.

“Every session is well structured with excellent resources provided to support the children with their writing.


"Gareth has a lovely manner with the children and he creates a calm working atmosphere - the children are happy to take risks and want to do well.”

Rochdale Hornets

In 2023, Literacy Kicks partnered with the Rochdale Hornets Sporting Foundation to deliver a bespoke project in the town that celebrated the rugby club’s unique link to Fiji.

Supported by a grant from the National Lottery Heritage Fund, over 700 Rochdale primary school children learned the story of players that arrived in the town from the South Pacific in the early 1960s and settled there with their families, beginning a strong link between the two communities that still remains today.

Pupils they wrote their own newspaper articles on the subject, supported by family members of some of the original Fijian arrivals in the classroom.

St Luke’s Heywood headteacher Kim Farrall said: “The children found out about the history and fascinating link between Rochdale and Fiji through rugby and were inspired to write fabulous news reports based on this. The children produced high quality pieces of writing and thoroughly enjoyed the session.”

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