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Sports project praised for positive impact in young people's lives

PUBLISHED: 05:30 27 May 2019

Young people at the Harbour Doorstep Sport Club in Lowestoft Picture: SAM MARKWELL

Young people at the Harbour Doorstep Sport Club in Lowestoft Picture: SAM MARKWELL

Shaheen Jahir

A Suffolk project which gets young people into sport is celebrating after reaching the milestone of 20,000 attendances.

Young people at the Harbour Doorstep Sport Club in Lowestoft Picture: SAM MARKWELLYoung people at the Harbour Doorstep Sport Club in Lowestoft Picture: SAM MARKWELL

Catch22 Suffolk Positive Futures, supported by the Suffolk County Council-led Most Active County Partnership, started delivering Doorstep Sport Clubs in 2013, offering young people in Ipswich and Lowestoft the opportunity to take part in free weekly sports sessions.

Since launching the Doorstep Sports Clubs, the project - highlighted as part of Move Suffolk week - has provided over 1,300 individual sessions for young people in a range of activities including football, boxing, dodgeball, and girls-only activity sessions.

The Doorstep Sport concept, which was developed by the national StreetGames charity, focuses on providing a fun, exciting and vibrant place for young people to play sport close to where they live. Based around the approach of 'right time, right place, right price and in the right style' the clubs foster a strong sense of belonging, with participants encouraged to enjoy taking part in social activities alongside the sports programme.

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Project manager Paul Knight said: "We are delighted to pass this significant attendance milestone. It hopefully demonstrates not only the appetite young people have for positive activities but also the need for continued investment in this area.

"These sessions focus on Ipswich and Lowestoft, however, through backing from the Suffolk Police and Crime Commissioner we also deliver projects across the county all with the similar approach of providing meaningful, constructive activities for young people within their neighbourhoods."

Suffolk Police and Crime Commissioner Tim Passmore stated: "I've seen first-hand the very positive impact that Suffolk Positive Futures has had on young people across the county so I am very pleased to see so many young people attending the Doorstep Sport programme of activities.

"I truly believe that using sport to show young people how to make positive life choices will help them become good citizens and develop leadership qualities that will help them to become more confident and principled adults."

The achievement has extra significance following the recent publication of a government select committee report focusing on the social impact of participation in culture and sport. The report highlights the "unique power" of sport and culture to improve lives, reduce crime and regenerate communities, and calls for 'more to be done to co-ordinate and invest in community initiatives, share evidence of success and encourage others to emulate examples of best practice'.

Click here for full details of the Catch22 Positive Futures programme of activities.

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