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Church backs Kickz

11 August 2012

Simon Church teams up against drugs with the RFC Kickz Project

Hundreds of young people have vowed to say no to drugs as Reading FC Community Trust's Kickz project and Prospect School joined forces to educate young people from across Reading. 

The sessions were delivered by former heroin and crack cocaine addict Paul Hannaford, who spent over £1 million on substance abuse over 15 years.  He began smoking cannabis at the age of 13 and over a period of eight years tried other drugs before finally succumbing to the addiction of heroin and crack cocaine. Paul finally gave himself up to the Police and begged them to lock him up to help beat his addiction, with numerous warrants out for his arrest. After 3 years in hospital and rehab, Paul is now in recovery and has not used drugs for six years, educating over 120,000 young people to date. 

 “Since I've been doing the talks, I've had kids come up to me in the streets and tell me that they have not wanted to take drugs because of my brutal talks. Parents come up to me in tears saying thank you for educating my child about the dangers of drugs. Unfortunately drug use is now very common and not all parents realise this until it’s too late.” 

Reading FC striker Simon Church was also present to back the campaign and also discussed topics such as mental strength, being dedicated and the importance of having the right role models and friends.  Church, who was also clearly shocked by the workshop added “It was good to meet Paul, his story is so powerful and it can only help educate young people.  He also offers support through his website so if young people are affected, they can speak to him which is great.  Reading FC Community Trust and Prospect School deserve huge credit for being so forward thinking and I am delighted to be part of the campaign.”  

Reading FC Community Trust Social Inclusion Officer Gary Webb added; “these workshops are incredibly powerful and the dangers of drug abuse are there for the young people to see.  We can educate young people through more traditional methods, but when someone like Paul delivers this message, it is powerful and young people can see for themselves the impact of drug abuse.  

Many of those we spoke to were clearly shocked and upset by the workshop, but I view this as a huge positive as it will put them off taking drugs and the consequences are clear.  I would like to thank Paul and Simon, and Prospect School for their support.  The school has been so innovative in allowing us to deliver these workshops, they are pioneers in alternative education and I am incredibly excited to be working with them.” 

Prospect School runs a programme of special events which take place on Fridays throughout the year organised by David Ridgus. As a centre of sporting excellence we emphasise social responsibility and a healthy lifestyle. 

"We were delighted that Reading FC Community Trust were able to contribute to this important aspect of our student’s education. Paul Hannaford’s workshops brought the reality of  addiction home to the students in a graphic way which emphasised the real dangers of becoming involved with drugs. His forthright approach was very effective and the impact of his workshop can now be picked up on in future lessons."

The support of Simon Church was also much appreciated as he provides a role model to young people that will encourage them to aspire to healthy lifestyle. Our thanks go to Reading FC for their support and we look forward to more collaboration in the future”  added Trevor Smith from Prospect School.

For further information on Reading FC Kickz project or these talks please contact Gary Webb on 0118 907 2161 or 

You can watch the hard-hitting video of the anti-drugs session on Reading FC Player now. 

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