Alliance of Sport and StreetGames lead consortium to tackle youth violence
A group of Sport for Development charities have launched a Ministry of Justice-funded initiative providing £5million for sports programmes focused on preventing youth crime and anti-social behaviour.
The new consortium, led by the Alliance of Sport in Criminal Justice and StreetGames, and co-ordinated by the Sport for Development Coalition, will deliver an investment of up to £5m into community sports organisations between 1st November 2022 and 31st March 2023.
The funds will support voluntary and community sports organisations to carry out targeted work supporting children and young people who are at risk of entering the Criminal Justice System.
The goal of the fund is to help vulnerable young people at risk of involvement in crime, anti-social behaviour and serious violence, and to build capacity within the sport sector to support them into positive life choices.
Part of the programme will also involve training sport organisations to work effectively with youth justice services, police and other local agencies to better meet the needs of the most vulnerable young people in their communities and using sport to enhance positive outcomes for vulnerable young people in the context of youth crime.
Investment will primarily be targeted at the “secondary cohort” of vulnerable young people aged 10-17 across England and Wales. The secondary cohort broadly refers to children who could be considered to be at-risk of entering the justice system due to challenging circumstances or additional vulnerabilities. This can include those at risk of school exclusion; those experiencing complex safeguarding issues; or those identified by the police as being vulnerable, or already being involved in anti-social behaviour; as well as a targeted approach to young people who are vulnerable as a result of the area where they live, i.e. those living in areas with high rates of youth crime or the bottom 20% deprivation, where children are at greater risk of being perpetrators or victims.
Interventions will provide additional structure to support a pro-social approach and to try to avoid the potential for involvement in anti-social behaviour, violence or gang activity.
Announcing the funding, Deputy Prime Minister, Lord Chancellor and Justice Secretary, Dominic Raab, said: “I have seen first-hand how local sports projects can transform the lives of young people from tough backgrounds, getting them off the streets and teaching them life skills including teamwork, discipline, and resilience.
“That’s why we’re investing £5 million in innovative sporting schemes up and down the country. It is part of our £300 million investment to support every council across England and Wales in catching and preventing youth offending earlier than ever, making our streets safer.”
Applications for funding open on 4 November and community sport organisations who wish to apply are encouraged to complete an application as soon as possible. Organisations can apply for funding which supports either:
· The provision of new activities/sessions
· An extension of existing provision where funding is due to run out before 1 December 2022
· The provision of new elements within existing activities/sessions. Applicants will need to clearly demonstrate the added benefits this funding will provide
It is expected that around 200 grants of £20k will be awarded to grassroots delivery organisations.
James Mapstone, Alliance of Sport in Criminal Justice Chief Executive, said: “Working together to deliver this ambitious new programme provides an opportunity to increase positive outcomes for children and young people and strengthen partnerships between community and statutory organisations.
“Both of these are essential to building safer communities and demonstrating the positive role that physical activity and sport has to play in the Criminal Justice System.”
Stuart Felce, StreetGames’ Director of Sport and Community Safety, said: “We’re really excited to be partnering with the Sport for Development Coalition and the Alliance of Sport in Criminal Justice to deliver this ambitious new programme from the Ministry of Justice. These funds are a vote of confidence in the power of sport to provide young people with a positive pathway and to help prevent them from falling into the Criminal Justice System.
“By connecting young people to their communities, and providing them with inspiring opportunities, StreetGames works to tackle the twin issues of boredom and alienation – leading causes of petty criminality and anti-social behaviour. Our highly-qualified tutors and hand-picked local volunteers provide not only structure and expertise but living, breathing proof of the transformational power of sport – redirecting misspent energy and empowering at-risk young people.”
Hitesh Patel, Executive Director of the Sport for Development Coalition, said: “Reducing crime and anti-social behaviour is a core element of the Coalition’s #OpenGoal framework, which shows how the multiple returns on investment created by sport for development can help to generate significant public cost savings. We are delighted to be working in harness with StreetGames and the Alliance of Sport in Criminal Justice to ensure this new funding supports and strengthens those organisations that can already demonstrate the positive social impact they are having on their local communities.”