Stevenage FC Foundation is pleased to announce that it has been successful in securing a grant from the Ministry of Justice & StreetGames, Youth Justice Sport Fund, which was launched by the Deputy Prime Minister last weekend, – to deliver a new programme to vulnerable young people within the town to keep them away from crime and anti-social behaviour.
The fund is the first of its kind delivered by the Ministry of Justice, and has been co-ordinated by StreetGames and the Alliance of Sport for Criminal Justice, with the support of the Sport for Development Coalition.
The Foundation are one of just over 200 organisations that have secured the funding which will allow for targeted delivery as an extension to the Premier League Kicks sessions that are currently delivered every Friday night at Nobel School, Stevenage.
Youth crime costs the taxpayer £1.5billion a year and research shows over three quarters of adult prolific offenders received their first caution or conviction as a juvenile, making the need to focus on early prevention even more critical.
The funding will allow the Foundation to deliver a 12 week programme for teenagers aged 14-17 across three sites in Stevenage during periods when anti-social behaviour can be at his highest. Known locally as the Onside Project, these weekly sessions will blend a mixture of sport with 121 mentoring, delivered by the Foundation’s team of coaches and youth workers.
A maximum of 30 young people can access the project to give them additional support to make positive life choices and begin to understand how the decisions they make now, can by the building blocks for a positive future and pathway to success.
This will be supported by workshops from inspirational speakers, bursaries for each young person for personal development, and enrichment activities.
Reacting to the news, Stevenage FC Foundation Youth Engagement Officer, Luke Foster said:
“Having the Foundation acknowledged by the Ministry of Justice and StreetGames with this funding is fantastic, and will allow us to build on the youth engagement work that we’ve been doing in recent years. Being able to do some intensive work to really make a difference to young people in our community and help them make positive choices for their future is something we can’t wait to get started on”.
Stevenage FC Foundation Chief Executive, Joe Goude added
“In recent years, the team have endeavoured to create programmes and pathways for young people that allows them to realise their potential. The Onside Project will add another string to that bow and provide some targeted work with those that need the most support. We’ve been working with Hertfordshire Police, Herts Sports Partnership, and StreetGames over the last 12 months to understand the role that sport can play in reducing offending amongst young people, and this project will be a great opportunity to put that work into action”.
At the launch of the fund Deputy Prime Minister, Justice Secretary and Lord Chancellor, Dominic Raab, said:
“I know first-hand how powerful sport and mentoring can be in turning young lives around.
“Sport has the power to boost confidence, build resilience and teach discipline, and evidence suggests sports can be effective in reducing offending among young people. That’s why we’re supporting over 200 organisations across England and Wales to encourage more young people to engage with sport and stay away from crime.”
Targeted sport-based interventions can also help to build young people’s resilience, self-confidence and discipline. Through their programmes Coalition members across the UK are helping to support physical and mental wellbeing, improve educational attainment and increase employability skills, as defined by the #OpenGoal framework.
Minister for Sport, Civil Society and Youth Stuart Andrew said:
“We believe every young person should get the best start in life. Doing sport is a brilliant way of building focus and discipline while also improving physical health and stopping people becoming involved in crime.
“This funding will help make sure people are set on the right path from the outset.”
The funding is part of the commitment made in the Prisons Strategy White Paper – published in December last year – to cut youth crime and create safer streets.
Stuart Felce, StreetGames Director of Sport and Community Safety, said:
“At StreetGames we believe that community sport, delivered in the right way, can have a transformational impact on children’s lives and the communities they live in. We’re really excited to be partnering with the Sport for Development Coalition and the Alliance of Sport in Criminal Justice to deliver this ambitious new programme from the Ministry of Justice. This investment in sport will support voluntary and community sports organisations to carry out targeted work to enhance positive outcomes for vulnerable children, providing the practical and emotional support they need to grow and helping to keep them and their communities safe.”
If you would like to know more about the project or want to get involved then please contact Luke Foster via firstname.lastname@example.org or 07510 380637.