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Youth-led organisation implementing real change within disadvantaged communities

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A Sherwood mother has proudly spoken about her son’s behavioural improvements since joining Support Through Sport sessions.

Support Through Sport is a Nottinghamshire charity, funded by the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner, which aims to eradicate negative influences affecting young people across the county through sport sessions, education, and mentoring.

Eight-year-old Noah uses their football sessions to manage his Autism, a diagnosis he received 12 months ago.

Niki Lees, Noah’s mum and Support Through Sport volunteer, explained how this can cause behavioural difficulties and challenges at home. 

However, the sessions he has been attending over the last six months greatly improve his mood and help create a better home environment with the rest of the family.

She said: “It really helps him to self-regulate when he’s playing sport. He absolutely loves football.

“Without that outlet, things can get really difficult, but it’s given him more confidence and helps him relax which has had a knock-on effect at home.

“His behaviour is really different on the days he plays football so it’s really beneficial for us as a family not just for him.”

With funding from the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner for Nottinghamshire, Support Through Sport helps young people aged eight to 18.

Its primary focus is empowering and improving the lives of young people across Nottinghamshire through positive initiatives to reduce the risk of them becoming involved in knife crime, gang violence and youth offending.

Through boxing and football at nine locations across the county, including Forest Sports Zone, the sessions offer a safe space for young people to keep them out of situations which could potentially lead to crime.

Since operating, Support Through Sport has supported 863 young people, with 446 interventions being delivered.

The organisation has also carried out 214 hours of one-to-one mentoring to help get young people on the right path.

Chief Executive Officer Tranai Todd set up the organisation in July 2021.

He said: “We use sport as a positive engagement method within communities of need for young people and aim to steer them towards positive opportunities.

“It’s a really engaging programme for young people to get involved in, all of it is free of charge which breaks down the barriers of participation.

“We’ve seen a reduction in the communities we work with of anti-social behaviour, offending and crime rates have gone down since we started working in them and we’ve seen some really really positive changes in young people.

“My favourite part is seeing the progression of the young people individually, but also the wider impact that programmes like this have on the community.

“We’re making positive changes in places that need it most.”

Police Constable Harvey Holt, of Nottinghamshire Police, works on one of the force’s Operation Reacher teams in Radford.

Operation Reacher teams use a combination of community engagement and criminal enforcement to build relationships in their neighbourhoods as well as trust and confidence in the police.

PC Holt and other members of his team have begun attending Support Through Sport sessions to reach out to people they may not be able to by other means.

He said: “The people that we see at these sessions are people we won’t see on a day-to-day basis in uniform. 

“It’s important that we do see them out of uniform because on the street they see us as an organisation, whereas if we attend these sessions just in regular sports kit then there is that separation so we can build those bridges in the community even more.”

Police and Crime Commissioner for Nottinghamshire Caroline Henry is responsible for commissioning services which respond efficiently and effectively to local need, prevent crime and support victims and survivors.

Support Through Sport is one of many organisations funded by Commissioner Henry to deliver these responsibilities and her Make Notts Safe plan.

She said: “The work that Tranai and the team do at Support Through Sport is vital to keeping our young people safe and away from crime.” 

“I am so grateful for youth organisations like Support Through Sport who are so clearly passionate about the work that they do within disadvantaged communities to give these young people opportunities to achieve their full potentials.”

Places sessions are held include:

  • Sutton Community Academy
  • Sutton Lawn
  • Forest Sports Zone
  • Calverton Young People’s Centre
  • Stapleford Young People’s Centre
  • Gresham Sports Zone
  • West Notts College
  • Mansfield Young People’s Centre

You can see the full timetable here.

Posted on Wednesday 28th December 2022
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