New hope for scheme that has helped reduce antisocial behaviour in North Walsham

A project that has helped hundreds of young people and contributed to a fall in antisocial behaviour in north Norfolk's biggest town has secured funding to give it a stay of execution.

But, with funds set to run out at the end of August, Kickz is in a race against time to get the backing to give it a long-term future.

On Friday evening, North Norfolk MP Norman Lamb brought a five-a-side football team to North Walsham for a match to highlight the plight of the Community Sports Foundation (CSF) scheme.

Before the match he said: 'I have supported the Kickz project from the outset. It plays a fantastic role in the local community, and I am glad to have this opportunity to get involved - although I've warned my team-mates I'm horribly unfit at present.

'I want to stress that Kickz currently only has funding to last until September, and needs extra financial support to ensure it is able to continue its good work.'

North Walsham Kickz has reached 475 13-19-year-olds since starting in September 2009.

Until a few weeks ago, it was set to close at the end of this month. But a letter to businesses by North Walsham councillor Paul Morse raised �2,000.

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And Dan Crouch from CSF said 'exceptional commitment' from Mr Morse and others, including police inspector Matt Dyson, had found around �10,000.

He said CSF was working with partners to find an initial �14,000 to secure the scheme until 2013, with the aim of making it viable for the 'longer term'.

Mr Morse, writing on his blog, said there were three large funding bids in which should secure Kickz 'way beyond' the end of August.

Mr Crouch said North Walsham Kickz gave young people the chance to engage in 'positive activities which deter them from antisocial behaviour'.

He said it had contributed to up to 60pc reductions in youth-initiated crime and antisocial behaviour in and around North Walsham in the hour before, during and the hour after the sessions.

He added: 'The impact in North Walsham has been huge, leading to great outcomes which make it imperative to secure the programme for local community.

'Young people have a better relationship with police due to police presence and engagement at sessions. Local police community support officers have commented on the difference this makes to their duties.'

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