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Active Communities Network receive prestigious Laureus award

Active Communities Network, who recently featured in our Review of Sport in Criminal Justice, have won a coveted Laureus Sport for Good award at a ceremony in Monaco.

ACN run programmes in London, Hampshire, Belfast, Manchester, Ireland and overseas which all use sport to engage at-risk youngsters and guide them towards opportunities in volunteering, education, training and employment. 

At the glittering ceremony, their work was praised by none other than Oscar-winning actor Benedict Cumberbatch, who commented: “For me, the work of Active Communities Network is the perfect example of Sport for Good.” 

ACN’s Hampshire operation, which has supported 2,500 young people with serious and complex needs in Havant and Portsmouth since 2016, came in for special praise. 

ACN’s head of the Hampshire programme and National Partnerships Manager, Julian Wadsworth MBE, told the Alliance of Sport: “We are in difficult times in terms of some of the issues that communities and young people are facing. 

“Without resorting to cliché, the power of sport – delivered in the right manner with a collaborative approach – is absolutely immense for developing confidence, resilience, raised aspirations and pathways towards a better future. 

leigh-park-boxing“We are extremely proud and honoured to receive this recognition from Laureus. This award highlights not just the power of sport, but also the benefits of partnership working to provide positive outcomes for young people and communities.” 

ACN deliver a year-round sports-based programme open to all young people living or socialising within the community and offers open access activities at key times. They also offer specialist mentoring and lifeskills support initiatives to enable participants to make positive lifestyle choices, and targeted projects with a formal referral process to identify and support young people deemed at-risk or vulnerable. 

Many young people joining the programme report high-threshold issues such as child sexual exploitation, county lines, substance misuse, trauma, NEETs, criminal activity and anti-social behaviour. 

ACN are much-valued members of our network and we featured their Hampshire programme as an example of best practice in our recent Review of Sport in Criminal Justice, commissioned by the Ministry of Justice. Read our report here.