Chelsea Football Legend Visits Rehabilitation Scheme

Kerry Dixon drops by Wandle Recreation Centre

Former England and Chelsea striker Kerry Dixon last week paid a visit to a group of offenders as they took part in a football-based rehabilitation scheme.

Dixon, one of Chelsea's all-time highest goal-scorers, dropped by the Wandle Recreation Centre, in Mapleton Road, on Wednesday, November 7, for a training session organised by sport development programme Air Football.

Air Football has been working with Wandsworth Council's Drugs Intervention Programme (DIP) team, which is part of the borough's Integrated Drug and Alcohol Service (IDAS).

Together they have been using football as a platform to engage with offenders - some of whom have experienced or are battling drug or alcohol-related problems.

Air Football, which runs two sessions each week, only launched the scheme with Wandsworth's DIP team recently - but those taking part have already triumphed in a football tournament boasting teams from across London , Kent and Essex.

Wandsworth's community safety spokesman, Councillor Jonathan Cook, said: "Schemes like this give offenders the chance to put themselves on the path to a crime-free life.

"Through sport these offenders are able to build mutual support, motivation and discipline, as well as better health and personal development."

The council's executive member for adult care and health, Councillor Jim Maddan, said: "By working in partnership with others we are able to better support offenders who have drug and/or alcohol-related problems as they begin their recovery process.

"In addition to helping them achieve a healthier lifestyle, we are also aiming to encourage them to lead a more productive and responsible life."

Wandsworth's DIP team works with prison staff and police and probation officers to help rehabilitate offenders.

All those taking part in the Air Football scheme have been referred by either borough-based drug and alcohol services, Wandsworth Prison or the probation service.

Air Football is a sport for development programme which specialises in supporting individuals affected by substance misuse, crime, homelessness and mental ill health. For more information visit

November 15, 2012