A NEW young people’s project in Portsmouth aims to keep teenagers off the street and teach them about drug and alcohol abuse.
Your Street has been set up by Simon Hayes, Hampshire Police and Crime Commissioner, and Julian Wadsworth, Respect manager for Pompey in the Community.
Julian and his team set up a sporting activity day at Eastney Community Centre, Bransbury Park, Eastney, to help promote their new campaign to the community.
Children aged nine to 19 were given the opportunity to play football, rugby and tennis.
And they also had a special guest in Paul Hanneford who gave a talk about his life as a drug addict.
Julian said: ‘We set up the programme to give children the chance to use the facilities and play different sports.
‘Supported by Simon Hayes we can work with the kids and keep them off the streets and from doing dangerous things.
‘They can come here for free and just have a good time together and it gives them that choice and opportunity.’
Julian also works with young people who have been youth offenders and have criminal records.
He added: ‘We have special programmes to help people who have been arrested and we work with them to get their lives back to normal.
‘We work with businesses to set up apprenticeships and give them the chance they might not have been given.
‘It is about our partnerships with local businesses and the police.’
Mr Hayes gave the Your Street programme financial backing and thinks it plays a major role in the community.
He said: ‘We have decided to back this project because it tells young people about the dangers that are in life nowadays.
‘Very inspirational talks will be given and it brings young people together and gives them something to belong to.
‘It looks at stopping common problems like alcohol and drugs abuse and gives them the realisation of the consequences these substances have.
‘It gives them something to do and helps stop youth crime.’
Your Street is part of Pompey in the Community’s Respect Programme which encourages social and personal development, community involvement as well as healthy lifestyles.
Since the programme started, it has seen a 20 per cent decrease in youth crime and more than 2,000 young people have taken part on the sessions.