PCC visits charity offering football training to young people after recently awarding funding
A charity which supports young people potentially at risk of entering the criminal justice system through innovative diversionary activities has received a community fund award from the Police and Crime Commissioner.
The Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner (OPCC) is helping to fund charities which support organisations working to form alternative pathways for young people in Wiltshire – directly delivering priority three of the Police and Crime Plan.
This week, Police and Crime Commissioner Philip Wilkinson visited Wiltshire Youth for Christ at the Wiltshire FA Centre in Devizes, after the group was recently awarded funding through the PCC’s Community Action Fund.
The organisation runs the Roots and Shoots programme, supported by Wiltshire FA, Wiltshire Police, local businesses and sports coaches. The scheme offers football coaching and activities to help build confidence and encourage positive attitudes and actions both on and off the pitch, with officers from the local neighbourhood policing team joining the sessions on a Friday night.
Mr Wilkinson said: “Organisations like Wiltshire Youth for Christ do fantastic work with young people to ensure they are keeping active, developing skills and having fun – all whilst keeping them out of trouble and off the streets, which is especially important during the schools’ half term break.
“It was great to be able to see this first hand and hear directly from the young people how much they enjoy the Roots and Shoots programme. My office will continue to invest in these, and other similar services to show our commitment to providing young people with alternative pathways which encourage positive attitudes and engagement with communities.”
Wiltshire Youth for Christ also run other youth-based projects which will also benefit from the funding, including a pop-up Youth Café, Safer Streets detached youth work and mentoring in schools.
Steve Dewar, Wiltshire YFC Lead Youth Worker and Chaplain said: “We are very grateful for the support from the Police and Crime Commissioner through the Community Action Fund as it enables us to bring young people together and play football as part of a team, but also to discuss their characteristics and behaviours - both on and off the pitch - which they take home and into their schools and communities.
“The involvement with Wiltshire Police also means our young people can have positive interactions with officers who encourage and listen to them, which in turn gives them a sense of hope and purpose.”
Find out more about the community groups funded by the PCC’s Community Action Fund, the eligibility criteria and how to apply for future funding here.