PCC shows his support for a West Yorkshire Rugby League project that breaks the cycle of youth offending (28 Jan 2014)

Your Sporting Chance, a Keighley, West Yorkshire based social enterprise that uses rugby league as a tool to break the cycle of youth offending, is launching a new project - 'Winners 2!' - following a £16,000 grant from the UK's largest Sport for Development charity, Sported

Your Sporting Chance specialise in engaging difficult and challenging young people. All participants of its programme are at a high risk of, or already are, undertaking anti-social behaviour and low level crime. The aim is through providing early, non-time limited intervention, the project canbreak the cycle of repeat offendingand keep such young people out of prison. 

Uniquely, Your Sporting Chance uses the power of sport and the profile of youth workers andrugby league professionals  (Keighley Cougars' Prop Forward, Brendon Rawlins, and Hooker, James 'Buster' Feather)  to engage vulnerable young people in the Keighley area. The continuity of care, stability and sustained positive relationships the Your Sporting Chance team builds with its participants have been  key ingredients in the project's unheralded success. 

It was the past success of a six-week joint project between the West Yorkshire Police, Incommunities and Your Sporting Chance that led to the £16,000 grant from Sported to fund the continuation of the programme for another two-years through its 'Winners 2!' project. The initial project, funded by the West Yorkshire Police and Incommunities, worked with a number of young people on the Braithwaite estate in Keighley. Through early intervention and getting the group involved in positive sporting activities, all but one of the group have not had any involvement with the Police since the programme started.

The organisation conservatively estimates that the typical cost saving it generates through early intervention and  keeping a young person out of the youth justice system is a staggering £166,462 over a nine year period (from the age of 14 to 23). 

Mark Burns-Williamson, Police & Crime Commissioner for West Yorkshire, said: "I am delighted that this programme has been given funding to allow it to continue for the next two years. I am committed to working with communities and organisations, such as Your Sporting Chance, to open up opportunities for young people that will put them on a path away from anti-social behaviour or crime; the police service has an important role in helping to achieve this."

He adds:"Stopping young people getting into trouble in the first place is critical in helping them develop and to deter them away from crime in the long run. I look forward to seeing how the project develops."

Mark with Mary Calvert, Your Sporting Chance Project Manager and Paul Steele, Yorkshire & Humber Regional Manager for Sported.


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