‘Play 2 Potential’ Project To Tackle Youth Crime

The Hull FC Community Foundation will work in partnership with Humberside Police to launch a new project, Play 2 Potential, which will help young people avoid risk-taking behaviours.

Having seen great success through the Set Restart project, which strives to achieve similar outcomes, the Community Foundation has received funding from the Humber Violence Prevention Partnership in a bid to tackle youth crime.

‘Play to Potential’ will engage young people aged 14 to 17 in activities that instil the skills, confidence, and knowledge to avoid risk taking behaviours. The project will adopt a public health approach towards reducing youth led crime, implementing a collaborative, data led approach towards engaging young people at high risk of engaging in crime in Hull in the following strands:

  • ‘Be Resilient’: Trained coaches will deliver a ten-session after-school programme to identified young people within secondary schools located across Hull. Young people will be signposted into the programme based on risk factors including school behaviour, absence, or known committed offences. Skill-based sessions will last for 90 minutes, fusing 45 minutes of physical activity with 45 minutes of group-based activities which promote the development of life-skills including problem solving, communication, decision-making, creative thinking, interpersonal relationships, self-awareness, empathy, stress-management, and controlling emotions.
  • ‘Be Active: Foundation coaches will work with Humberside Police to offer two hours of community-based sports interventions, two evenings per week, targeting anti-social behaviour hotspots utilising community assets such as multi-use game areas. The opportunity to participate in sport is the engagement tool, supporting young people to develop a positive mindset where they are more likely to take on messages that reinforce healthy lifestyles and the dangers of risky behaviours. Conversations will be had throughout the sessions around areas such as grooming, knife crime, unhealthy relationships, substance misuse, and mental health.
  • ‘Be Inspiring’: Volunteering and social action activities have a positive impact of mental health, as well as supporting the development of skills that can help form employment aspirations. Participants from ‘Be Resilient’ and ‘Be Active’ activities will be supported to complete a Sports Leaders qualification and progress into a placement within wider Foundation provision or complete their own social action initiative.

Launched only this July, the Humber VPP is one of 20 violence reduction units across England and Wales, and will benefit from a total of £3.5m of Home Office funding over the next three years to identify the causes of violent crime and lead the local response to preventing and reducing violence through targeted interventions.

The partnership includes the Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC), Humberside Police, the four local Councils, the local NHS Integrated Care Board, the Office for Health Improvement and Disparities and Youth Offending Teams working closely with young people, community groups and education providers.

The partnership will commission a range of programmes in the first year including sports programmes and other positive activities to prevent young people from being drawn into crime, proactive engagement with young people to signpost them to support and positive activities and targeted campaigns to raise public awareness of issues linked to serious violence.

The Community Foundation’s ‘Play 2 Potential’ sessions will take place on Friday evenings at the Allam Sports Centre at the University of Hull (5-7pm). There is also scope to take the sessions to a second venue in the New Year.

Following on from the success of the Set Restart project, Head of Community Learning Ed Grady said: “We are really excited to be launching this new project and continuing our work to reduce the risk of young people committing crimes in certain areas of the city.

“With Set Restart, we were able to provide activities such as boxing and multi-sports sessions, to not only give young people something to do with their evenings, but also to let off some steam, which is equally, if not more important.”

“As part of a pilot project, we visited Sirius Academy North School to deliver some sessions to help children deliver some leadership skills.

“We had some great success with that, and a couple of students shone really bright. So we are going to be taking this project into a number of other schools in the hope that we can have the same impact.”

The Play 2 Potential sessions will continue and expand the work that the Set Restart project has already delivered, just like multi-sports activities have helped many local youngsters.

Blessing, who is a regular attendee at the multi-sports sessions said: “It’s really good fun and it gives me something to do on a Friday night.

“At the end of the day, it keeps me and my friends out of trouble. The sports sessions are a good way of keeping us all occupied instead of being out on the street causing mischief.”

If you’d like more information about the Play 2 Potential project, please email ed.grady@hullfc.com.