Norwich football project to help kids at risk of ‘county lines’ crime
PUBLISHED: 12:24 25 February 2020 | UPDATED: 15:47 25 February 2020
The Norwich City charity building a state-of-the-art sports facility has helped launch a pioneering £300,000 project to help young people at risk of child criminal exploitation.
Positive Futures is to be run in high schools across Norfolk and Suffolk by Norwich City Community Sports Foundation to support young people in need of a clearer direction in life to avoid the "scourge" of 'county lines'.
Set up in partnership with the Premier League, Norfolk County Council, the Professional Footballer's Association and Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner for Norfolk, the programme, which free for schools, looks to protect young people through a series of weekly workshops, 1-2-1 mentorship, and multi-day residential visits.
Norfolk Police and Crime Commissioner Lorne Green said: "Positive Futures is one of a number of initiatives my office has funded and been working tirelessly on in a bid to tackle child criminal exploitation and the scourge that is 'county lines' in Norfolk.
"It is imperative young people are given the right tools, skills and knowledge to allow them to make informed decisions in life."
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The programme is divided into two strands. 'Protect' is a preventative programme aimed at 11 to 13-year-olds showing signs of risk such as persistent absence from school, difficult personal relationships, significant decline in school results or concerns their emotional well-being.
Meanwhile 'Prepare' offers targets Year 10 pupils whose emotional resilience and self-esteem may have been affected by anxiety and stress.
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Asa Saunders, schools programme manager from the Community Sports Foundation said: "Our aim is that the young people on the 'Protect' programme develop their skills and knowledge and become more aware of the risks of criminal exploitation they may face.
"The programme's goals include improving behaviour in schools, leading to better attendance and attainment and encouraging positive relationships between young people and their parents, carers or teachers while raising their aspirations for the future."
The two-year pilot project will offer support both in the classroom and through residential experiences but also at The Nest, the community sports foundation's sports hub in Horsford.
Norfolk County Council and the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner for Norfolk have both provided £25,000 funding, which has helped unlock £250,000 of further support for the project from the Premier League/PFA.