Cash boost for football scheme designed to keep youngsters away from gangs

Northampton Town FC Community Trust was among those to receive a grant from the Police Commissioner's Northamptonshire Safer Communities Fund.
Northampton Town FC Community Trust was among those to receive a grant from the Police Commissioner's Northamptonshire Safer Communities Fund.

A project which will use football to try to deter young people from a life of crime is among those to receive a funding boost.

Twelve community projects will share £80,000 following the latest round of grants from the Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner.

Grants totalling 80,000 have been awarded to 12 groups across the county who work to make their communities safer.

Grants totalling 80,000 have been awarded to 12 groups across the county who work to make their communities safer.

Groups which work to make their communities safer can apply for the funding and among the latest recipients is Northampton Town FC Community Trust. The Trust is setting up weekly football sessions in the Kingsway and Queensway estates in Wellingborough, targeting young people at risk of gang culture and crime.

It is hoped it could lead to the young people involved training as volunteers and assistant coaches to help support the sessions in the long term.

Community coach Mark Seymour said a similar scheme in Northampton, which is part of the national Kicks initiative, has helped the young people they work with develop positive relationships with those in authority.

He said: "I believe the most important part has been the young people gaining acceptance of officials and developing respectful relationships with the police and coaches. It's about having normal conversations and building mutual respect and courtesy. Recognising positive behaviour and identifying the behaviours that need adjustment has worked really well."

Other organisations to benefit from a cash injection from the Northamptonshire Safer Communities Fund include Northamptonshire Carers, which will use the money to raise awareness of fraud among older people in Wellingborough; the Daylight Centre Fellowship in Wellingborough, which will now open five days a week to better support vulnerable and homeless people; and Brightkidz, a project that will enable three secondary schools in Kettering to promote road safety and active travel.

Cotterstock Parish Council, Wilby Parish Council and Brigstock Parish Council all received grants to fund electronic speed awareness signs.

Police Commissioner Stephen Mold said: “Keeping this county safe isn’t the responsibility of Northamptonshire Police alone and I am pleased to support schemes that show individuals and organisations working alongside the police to help prevent and fight crime and protect people.

“Since I became Commissioner, I have had the honour of being able to support 25 really fantastic projects across Northamptonshire with almost £200,000 of funding. I look forward to visiting their projects to see how they will benefit their local communities.”

Applications for the next round of funding opened on July 22 and will close on August 30. More details are available at www.northantspcc.org.uk/community-grant.