A new project designed to provide a positive alternative to antisocial behaviour is to launch in time for the summer holidays.
Dozens of young people in the Woodhouse Close and St Helen Auckland areas of Bishop Auckland are set to benefit from a new sport and activity-led project at Auckland Youth and Community Centre. The ‘Auckland Games’ initiative has been created through a partnership between Durham Constabulary, local housing associations believe housing and Accent, StreetGames, AYCC, Prosper and Durham County Council.
Auckland Games sessions are set to take place on a Thursday night from 6pm until 7pm at AYCC in the heart of Woodhouse Close. They will feature a range of sports and games coordinated by staff and volunteers from AYCC and the other partner organisations.
The initiative is the result of work earlier this year to tackle specific antisocial behaviour issues in both areas following feedback from residents and local businesses. All of the activities are suitable for eight to 16-year olds, believe housing contributed £4,000 to the programme, and Accent £1,000, with both organisations providing affordable homes in the area.
Bishop Auckland Neighbourhood Policing Team have also been working hard alongside AYCC to contact local schools and businesses to help raise awareness of the new project, with training for volunteers who will be running the sessions already delivered.
Safer Neighbourhoods Officer from believe housing, Steve Green, said: “This project has been brought to fruition really quickly as a result of work with local residents and businesses. It should help to provide positive alternatives to antisocial behaviour for dozens of young people in the area on a regular basis, helping them into sport and physical activity plus giving them new opportunities to socialise in a safe place.
“It’s been great to work with all of the partners in this project and we were very happy to provide funding to turn the idea into reality.”
Accent Regional Customer Experience Manager Amanda Oakley said: “We are absolutely delighted to be supporting the Auckland Games. Partnerships like these can be invaluable in keeping young people off the streets and prove to be educational, fun and a great way to make new friends. We have a number of residents living in Woodhouse Close, so we hope they pop along and get involved.”
PCSO Beth Maddox said “We are launching this event to give young people something to do on an evening and get involved in sporting activities when they may previously have not been able too. It’s incredible that it is free to attend, and we are receiving numerous donations from local businesses for free refreshments and equipment. We have some exciting games to play and want to hear what activities they would like to see on future nights. This is a great opportunity for the young people of Bishop Auckland to get involved, get to know their local officers, improve their health and make new friends”
Widening Horizons Manager, David McCreedy from AYCC Ltd said: “This project is going to benefit young people in the area greatly. It’s great to see local organisations working in partnership to develop new, exciting and worthwhile projects”