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Article date - 17 April 2019
Funded through Merseyside Police’s Community Cashback scheme – money recovered from proceeds of crime - the project will see children and young people between 5-17 years of age given the opportunity to take part in a range of activities including pool, table tennis, arts and crafts – and themed sessions to tie in with national events.
Young people will also be consulted on a regular basis to ensure the Youth Service is delivering sessions they want to see.
As well as keeping children and young people occupied, early intervention and educational sessions will also be held on a range of modern day issues such as staying safe online; the dangers of drugs and alcohol; child sexual exploitation (CSE) and ‘stranger danger.’
Outdoor Activities & Programme Coordinator, Matthew Cunliffe, who put the bid in on behalf of St Helens Council, said: “We’re delighted to have secured such a significant amount of money which will be invested in young people to help guide them on the right path away from getting involved with anti-social behaviour.
“The lighter evenings, together with the school holidays, often lead to an increase in youths hanging around parks and shops which can be intimidating for other members of the public; this project will help combat this, giving youngsters a safe place to go while having fun, meeting new people and learning all about important issues they could one day encounter in the lives.”
Sergeant Neil Birkett from Merseyside Police, sponsor of the St Helens project, said:
"This is a fantastic scheme which I’m sure will prove to be popular with all involved. Young people in St Helens will get to take part in some really fun and interesting activities, as well as developing skills and knowledge that will help them with some of the issues they might face.
"It is great that the force is in a position to support St Helens Council’s Youth Service in delivering this vital work, and similar schemes in other parts of Merseyside have seen a marked reduction in levels of anti-social behaviour. We hope that the community of St Helens will see the same benefits, and all the young people who take advantage of the scheme have a brilliant time.”
The junior programme for 5-11 year-olds is currently underway, taking place every Friday evening between 4:30pm- 6:00pm, with the senior programme for 11-17 year-olds to take place every Friday evening between 7:00pm-9:00pm, starting from 3 May in Haydock’s Grange Valley Youth Centre.
For more information and to view activity timetables, visit yaz.sthelens.gov.uk or visit the youth service on Twitter: @YouthServiceSTH
Photo caption: Matthew Cunliffe (middle) pictured with Merseyside Police Community Support Officers, Emma Stevenson (left) and Natalie Gabriel