Young Newcastle footballers are being encouraged to improve their self-esteem, create new friendships and kick bad habits into the back of the net – thanks to help from the Staffordshire Police and Crime Commissioner.
Chesterton AFC received £2971 from the PCC’s People Power Fund, which has been used to buy equipment and pay for use of the facilities in and around Chesterton Community Sports College.
The football club, run by several volunteers, have opened their doors to more than 110 youngsters between the ages of 10 to 16-years-old.
Police and Crime Commissioner Matthew Ellis visited the centre, along with Lilian Barker MBE, the chair of the Newcastle Safer Neighbourhood Panel.
He hopes Chesterton AFC’s effort will ensure the final whistle is blown once and for all on any potential for anti-social behaviour.
‘It’s good to see volunteers giving up their time to provide a brilliant facility and opportunity for football-mad youngsters and creating good citizens of the future.
‘This is a great initiative that should improve the confidence and well-being of children and, who knows, perhaps Chesterton will unearth the next football star of the future.’
The People Power Fund, which makes available £300,000 in the form of grants between £100 and £3,000, is part of £2.5 million total community funding from the PCC for 2017/18.
The Proceeds of Crime Fund is seeing 100 per cent of funding received by Staffordshire Police going back into local communities, through grants of between £3000 and £15,000. It is made up of money seized from criminals.
Both are intended to go towards causes that promote physical and mental well-being, generate confidence, help protect the county, assist the vulnerable, repel anti-social behaviour and restrict the potential for crime.
Club secretary David Grocott explained the importance of the PCC contribution.
‘Without it we simply couldn’t provide the facility or pay for the equipment – so we are extremely grateful for the donation.
‘Chesterton is a very disadvantaged area – one where the minimum wage and unemployment is prevalent.
‘Some of the boys used to hang around the streets being bored, so rather than being a nuisance on the pitch we hope they can be a nuisance on the football pitch instead.
‘It has helped build confidence and, for those who felt isolated, it’s helped create new friendships.’