Thanet is among three StreetGames organisations in Kent receiving £40,000 from the Home Office to use sport to deter young people from getting involved in crime and gangs.
The cash, for use with the Doorstep Sport scheme, will be split between Changing Minds Kent, Olympia Boxing and Sport On Your Doorstep in Thanet, Maidstone, Tonbridge, Chatham and Swale.
StreetGames organisations literally take sport to the doorstep of young people to make it as easy as possible for them to take part.
The aim is to engage marginalised youth who often miss out due to issues such as lack of money, transport and positive role models.
Doorstep Sport follows the “5 rights” – sport delivered at the right place, at the right time, in the right style, at the right price, and with the right leader or coach.
Its projects for youth crime prevention, called Sport 4 Good, follow ten principles that research shows are effective at reducing youth crime.
These include rewarding activities and personal development opportunities
The Home Office investment comes via the recently formed Kent Violence Reduction Unit, which is a partnership between the police, councils, health service providers and other key agencies to deliver a reduction in violence the county.
It was created in 2019 after the Kent Police and Crime Commissioner was awarded £1.16million from the Home Office. The Government then announced Kent would receive a further £1.16million to fund the Violence Reduction Unit in 2020/21.
Colin Rouse, from Changing Minds Kent, which will deliver the scheme in Thanet, said: “To have tailored support from StreetGames and to be able to network with other like- minded organisations across Kent about project design, delivery and evaluation is so valuable when it comes to Sport 4 Good projects.
“It’s reassuring to know we’re not alone when trying to improve lives through sport.”
James Gregory, from StreetGames, said: “We’re very grateful that the Kent Violence Reduction Unit and the Home Office recognise that quality-assured Doorstep Sport provision can be part of the solution to youth crime and gangs prevention.
“But this work can’t be done in isolation. So it’s key that we link up with other partner agencies like schools and social services, so we can be as effective as possible at improving young lives through sport by supporting young people to be healthier, safer and more successful.”
James was formerly the lead on Thanet’s Sport 4 NRG scheme, which was a successful diversionary programme managed and delivered by TDC between 2005 and 2018.
Sport 4 NRG also used Doorstep Sport to keep young people active, occupied, off the streets and out of trouble. Due to capacity and budget restraints, the programme has been on hold over the last year but the aim is to relaunch it as an umbrella Doorstep Sport programme.
Other Thanet organisations delivering community sport to young people can be a are part of the programme, meaning it will be run by the community, for the community.
The Doorstep Sport programme launches during half-term, October 26-30.
For more details on the programme contact Colin Rouse at Changing Minds Kent at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Newington Centre MUGA, Ramsgate: Street Football, 14+, Monday, 7pm-8.30pm
Newington Community Centre, Ramsgate: Boxing Fitness, 14+, Monday, 7pm- 8.30pm
Margate FC: Street Football, Thursday, 14+, 5pm-6.30pm