Helping build lives and learn skills
Run by Opportunity Sports Foundation, the 12 month project, which received £2,500 from the Community Action Fund, delivers weekly football sessions at the Soccerdome in Blackburn, with mandatory courses run alongside which cover a range of topics, including support in gaining employment, building key skills including maths and English, whilst offering advice on gaining a more permanent place to live.
It also provides an opportunity to get to know others in a similar position and support volunteers, such as those from Nightsafe, a Blackburn based charity who support homeless and vulnerable young people, meaning they build up trust and understanding in an informal setting.
The Commissioner was able to speak with some of those benefiting from the sessions, all aged between 18 and 25, hearing from the coaches who organise and run the sessions about the difference that it has made to so many people’s lives.
Mr Grunshaw said: “Projects such as this can make a real difference to people’s lives. Hearing about the way these sessions have impacted so many young people and continue to do so is really encouraging as we know that those engaged in programmes like this are less likely to get involved in crime such as anti-social behaviour in our town centres.
“It is about more than just football, it offers a path to young people for building their futures, finding a secure place to live any away from any potential criminality. Opportunity Sports Foundation are tackling reoffending and also working to support vulnerable people, key priorities in my police and crime plan.
“This is what my Community Action Fund is all about and it is clear that providing these small grants to organisations that know their areas and how to improve them delivers real value for money and are making a big difference across the county.”
Andrew Bell, Chief Executive Officer of Opportunity Sports Foundation added:
“We know that by running projects like this, we are able to reach young people who would otherwise be unlikely to engage with the support services that are available to help them rebuild their lives.
“Without the Commissioner’s Community Action Fund, we would be unable to deliver these sessions which have helped a large number of often vulnerable people find a place to live, receive support and guidance and avoid getting involved in anti-social behaviour.”
For more details about the Community Action Fund, including funding criteria and how to apply, visit the CAF section of the Commissioners website https://www.lancashire-pcc.gov.uk/our-money/grant-funding/community-action-fund/