PCC hails Iprovefit as the "standard we should aspire to"
Wiltshire Police Crime Commissioner, Philip Wilkinson, has praised a mentoring organisation in Swindon, saying they set "the standard we should aspire to" after making a recent visit.
Iprovefit has been given £32,000 from the Safer Streets fund to provide fourteen mentoring spaces to young people who are at risk of becoming involved in criminal activity.
The company was set up in 2012 by Danny Greenfield, a personal trainer in Swindon and Jerel Ifil, a cult icon at Swindon Town who was coming towards the end of his football career.
Mr Wilkinson made a visit to Iprovefit at their base in Swindon, where he saw their facilities which include a multi-activity zone, gym, sensory area, music studio and learning hub and spoke to coaches and former mentees.
He was what he saw:
"I was hugely impressed by Iprovefit and this is the standard I think we should aspire to.
"The organisation is run by former professional athletes and the high standards they set of personal behaviour and self-discipline are everything I would expect"
Jerel Ifil played over two hundred games for Swindon Town was affectionately called "The Beast" by fans and is considered a cult icon at the County Ground.
Orginally from London, he explained why he decided to become a director of Iprovefit:
"I was going to go into coaching or stay within football,then Danny approached and said to have a look at what he was doing with Iprovefit.
"I like that fact that I can see children benefitting from the fact that I was a footballer, but there's are other aspects to it.
"The mental strength, understanding teamwork and communication and just discipline and structure.
"I would rather help younger people that don't have a direction, than slightly further on where they do have the direction and they may get a little bit more help up there"
Danny Greenfield spoke to the PCC about the values of Iprovefit and the approaches they use through sport and music to set young people on the right track:
"Society, as we know, can be quite chaotic and everything is done at a fast speed, or pace.
"If emotional or behavioural regulation is an issue, we need to be in an environment where they (young people) can express that.
"Using sports activities or areas of music, where they can almost vent or sound out their frustrations in a safe space, it helps them to do so.
"We are very dynamic in doing those parts, rather than being enclosed in those four walls where those negative behaviours begin to manifest themselves.
"So we have the facility and the environment for that purpose."
The Police and Crime Commissioner met Lucas, one of the first mentees to pass through Iprovefit.
Lucas now has a well paying job and puts down some of success to working with the team at Iprovefit:
"These are people who are more inclined to be looked up to by the younger generation.
"They're not going out and doing all these negative things all the time, which you would presume that people who could get away with it, they would.
"They're on the straight and narrow... and they care about you all.
"They care about you in a good way"
Following the visit, Mr Wilkinson talked about how he believes mentoring organisations are the way forward when it comes to tackling problems such as anti-social behaviour:
"This is all part of that bigger package that we're trying to put together under the rubric of Safer Streets, which is addressing the causes, symptoms and the consequences of anti-social behaviour amongst young people"