Stoke-on-Trent volunteer programme shortlisted for national award

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Volunteers running a number of sport sessions across North Staffordshire have been shortlisted for a prestigious award for working with young people.

Sporting Communities helps teenagers across Staffordshire to keep out of trouble and off the streets by getting involved in sport.

The volunteer programme aims to prevent anti-social behaviour and is funded by Staffordshire Police and Crime Commissioner Matthew Ellis’ proceeds of crime fund.

Sporting Communities has been shortlisted for the Youth Work Award at the Children and Young People’s Awards – national recognition of the work it does to keep teens out of anti-social behaviour in Staffordshire

It uses the funding to hire sports halls, equipment and coaches to help young people take part in a range of sports.

By setting up their sessions, Sporting Communities gets youngsters aged between eight and 17 actively involved in a variety of sport, the most popular being cricket and football.

Ben Rigby from Sporting Communities said: “Our work is around engaging young people in communities, using sport and creative arts as a tool.

“We have some wrap-around services including counselling, so it’s engaging young people with things that they find fun and also seeing if they are other ways we can help them to have a greater well-being.

“It’s great because we have some talented young people that have come through the system, the programme is engaging the wider community to help those who can’t afford to join official sports clubs.

“We have a massive age range and we focus on deprived areas including those with sexual exploitation issues and anti-social behaviour issues – it gives them something to do and helps improve their social well-being.”

StaffsLive reporters Beth Pearson and Emma James went to a Sporting Communities cricket session at Kidsgrove Sports Centre. Click on the video below for more.

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