On Saturday 3rd of October, children’s football academy brand, Kixx, hosted a visit from Doncaster Central MP, Dame Rosie Winterton. After receiving an invitation, Dame Rose Winterton arrived at a ‘rainy’ Keepmoat Academy to watch the Kixx Academy sessions in action and to meet with Kixx founder, Ben Hunter.
It has been quite the journey for Kixx founder, Ben Hunter, who’s career could have been quite different, had it not have been for a serious groin injury which led to the end of his professional football career.
Hunter left Doncaster in 2002 to take up a football scholarship with North Carolina University in the USA. He continued to progress his professional football career by playing for Columbus Crew in Major League Soccer, America’s equivalent to the Premier League.
With injury cutting one career path short, Hunter returned to the UK with a plan and a mission. In 2011, after returning to Doncaster, Ben decided to form a company that was dedicated to coaching young children, but with sessions delivered in a way that would engage and capture the imaginations of all children.
Since then, Kixx has seen major growth across the UK with the creation of 48 franchises stretching from Devon, Wales, Norwich and Manchester up to Middlesbrough.
Many of those franchises are owned by pro footballers, ex pro and football coaches. One such owner is Doncaster Rovers legend, James Coppinger, who is the person behind the Kixx Middlesbrough and Kixx Redcar franchises.
More recently league footballers, Joss Labadie, who captains Newport, launched Kixx Newport, and JJ Hooper, along with fellow football league star, Ade Azeez, also recently launched Kixx Bromley
Kixx staff across England and Wales engage and positively impact around 14,000 young children each week, and that figure continues to climb steadily. Goldman Sachs and Barclays have identified Kixx as one of the fastest growing companies in the UK, officially it is in the top 5%, and Ben Hunter has plans to extend even further.
Ben Hunter said; ‘It was lovely to welcome Rosie Winterton to our sessions this morning. Kixx as a brand, as a company nationwide, we care passionately about the development of children and we take great pride in the quality of our coaching. We had 300 happy children here in various age-groups and we were able to show how our activities positively engage the children, provide healthy exercise and help the development of skills that will help off the pitch too, such as listening, coordination and communication.’
Ms Rosie Winterton said, “It was a real delight to meet Ben Hunter, the Kixx team, and the children and family supporters today. This is an inspirational initiative and a great way to get children not only active, but also to help them gain all-important life skills.
“Thank you to Ben and his team for all that you’re doing to inspire young people in Doncaster and across the country”
Hunter has also set up the Kixx Community arm which is specifically working to help disadvantaged and vulnerable children gain access to activities they may not otherwise have an opportunity to attend.
He concluded: “In the future, our aim is for Kixx to deliver sessions to 100,000 children a week. We know the financial and personal struggles that some families and children can have and do have in their daily lives. Kixx recognises this and we are working with community and education partners to provide more Kixx activities for children, whether that is through extra-curricular activities or through school-based education programmes.”
Kixx delivers activities and programmes that have been carefully designed for boys and girls aged between 18 months to 10 years of age. With an innovative curriculum, it emphasises both the physical and social development of children. The Kixx mission is simple; to have a positive impact on every child at every opportunity.