The visit allowed the mentors who facilitate the programme, to highlight the work they are doing across the community, providing opportunities for young people between the ages of 10 and 25 who have previously engaged in or are at risk of offending behaviours.
Working with the mentors, young people set goals and put plans into place with tools that will help them achieve their objectives. These goals can range from physical wellbeing, to school attendance, and further education.
As well as by Preston North End Community and Education Trust, the Champions programme is also delivered by eight other football club community organisations (CCOs) across Lancashire.
Following the visit, Deputy Commissioner Andy Pratt said:
“I’m pleased to see how the Champions programme is engaging with young people at risk of engaging in criminality in Preston and other areas to put them on a better path.
“Getting tough on anti-social behaviour is a top priority in PCC Andrew Snowden’s Fighting Crime Plan and programmes like this can make a real difference.
“Through activities such as football and youth groups, an increasing amount of potentially vulnerable young people are benefiting from the service the Champions programme can offer.
“In my role as Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner I will continue to work closely with local community projects and groups to highlight and support their work with young people and ultimately make our streets safer.”
David Clarke, VRN Champions Programme Manager said: “Every young person we work with is different, which is why the approach for each individual must be bespoke. The Champions mentors are there to provide a positive role model in these young people’s lives and establish trusting relationships that benefit the young person, their families, and the wider communities.”
“The Champions programme looks beyond the behaviour and instead focuses on relationship building to get to the root causes of why someone might have come to us in the first place. This then allows us to work on positive decision-making and ultimately helps to prevent young people becoming involved in crime.”
Further information about the Champions Programme is available at www.teamchampions.co.uk.