February 17, 2022. News

Survey launched to identify sports provision for young people vulnerable to crime and violence

A Thames Valley-wide survey has been launched to identify the provision of sports, physical activity and organised groups for young people who may be vulnerable to being drawn into crime and violence.

StreetGames UK, a national charity which champions the power of sport to change lives, has been working across the country to better understand the level of provision for these groups of young people. Now, it is partnering with the Thames Valley Violence Reduction Unit (VRU), a local partnership body working to tackle knife crime and serious violence in our communities.

It is recognised that sports and organised activities can create a positive and protective environment for those who are at risk of being drawn into crime, or who may already have been involved in offending.

Involvement in regular, organised and supported sessions helps to provide young people with positive and healthy activity, a diversion from poor behaviours and influences, gives structure and role models and can help build their self-esteem and confidence.

A survey has been launched, open to every local community provider of activity which delivers programmes for those more vulnerable young people. It is not aiming to survey every single provider of sport, but is keen to identify specific sessions of activity which engage those more vulnerable to behavioural problems and being drawn into crime and violence.

Young people on a sports activity

The results will be used to populate a live map of local provision, identifying the individual sessions of activity, with information on who they are aimed at, age groups and activity types.  StreetGames will use the analysis to inform a new VRU Sports & Inclusion Board which has been established to explore how physical activity and sport can play a greater role in protecting young people and preventing future crime and violence.

The survey is available on the Thames Valley Violence Reduction Unit website www.tvvpp.co.uk or online via this link until the end of February and can be completed by individual organisations.

Graham Helm, National Partnerships Manager, StreetGames UK, said:

“Sport is often described as a gateway into a better life, particularly for those growing up experiencing the challenges of poverty and lack of opportunities. Sport can be transformative, building confidence at the individual level whilst also supporting stronger community links.

“Across the country, we’ve seen a growing understanding of the important effect that sport can have as an intervention to prevent young people getting involved in crime and violence.

“Our survey seeks to better understand the levels of provision, with a focus on those who provide sport for wider good, not just in the pursuit of sporting excellence.”

Stan Gilmour, the Director of the Thames Valley VRU, said:

“Serious violence in our communities is preventable. We are working with local partners and communities to create earlier opportunities to protect young people and prevent them being drawn into crime in the first place.

“For those who are vulnerable or who may already have offended, the opportunity to be involved in local sport groups can entirely turn their lives around.

“Through this survey, we want to better understand the level of provision – whether by statutory partners or by grass-roots community organisations.  This will give us the opportunity to identify gaps and future opportunities to build on what is working, share good practice and address gaps.”

You can read the latest VRU Blog by Graham Helm of StreetGames UK which explores the importance of sport as a preventative factor on the VRU Blog pages.

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