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Sport event to unite residents of Nottingham’s Clifton estate

Pete Bell is using the knowledge and experience from his ‘Step Out, Stay Out’ prison football programme to organise a sports event to foster community cohesion on the Clifton estate in Nottingham. 

Pete is well known to much of the Alliance of Sport community of practice for his work inside several prisons providing mentoring support and football-based education to offenders, having himself served a three-month sentence back in 1992. 

Having delivered a successful trial event on the Clifton estate back in October, Pete is now planning a community-wide ‘Jumpers for Goalposts’ day on May 30th from 10.30am-2.30pm with the involvement of local police, fire service, the army, the city council, schools, a nearby boxing club and many more local stakeholders. 

“Every day in the news every day there are reports of kids from mainstream schools getting involved in knife crime and ending up in the criminal justice system,” said Pete. 

“This event is preventative and an example of me using my knowledge from working in prisons to stop some of these kids getting into that situation.

It’s about community cohesion and diversity and will include parents, children, young people and older local students who are getting involved as organisers to develop their life skills. 

It’s a holistic approach to getting as much education and cohesion as possible on that day and trying to build on that with follow-up events, making the estate a hub of ‘Step Out, Stay Out’ activity. 

At last year’s trial event, 26 children and their parents turned up and took part in impromptu, informal games of football, literally using jumpers for goalposts. “It’s what I call, ‘facilitate not dictate,” says Pete. 

Teams were switched around, the Premier League and local council supplied prizes and the local PCSOs and parents even had a kickabout. “We gave the kids lots of ownership; they made up their own rules, it got people talking to each other and simply spending a couple of hours together in the park in the sunshine,” adds Pete. 

It spawned an idea for a bigger event to increase the impact. May’s event is taking place at a local comprehensive school, with 18 students organising the marketing, planning, budgeting, ordering of t-shirts, etc. 

By going into schools, talking about my background and what I’ve done in football, I am able to get these kids onside. Now I’m enabling them to take ownership of this to give them crucial life skills and prepare them for some of the real-life events they’ll come across in the future,” comments Pete. 

Dan Freedman, author of the Jamie Johnson books, the local council and school have all pledged money to help run the event and prizes. The local boxing club will hold pad sessions, donations will be collected for charity and local TV news crews have shown an interest. 

Pete concludes: “It’s a big community day for the people of the Clifton estate, which is one of Europe’s largest housing estates. Hopefully this will lead to much more support and beneficial activity in the future which will help divert these young people away from a life of crime.” 

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