In a region so passionate about our national game, it’s hardly surprising that a summer programme of football at Prescot Soccer Centre has proved so popular.
What’s special about this programme, however, is that it is specifically aimed at engaging young people in free, active fun through the summer holidays whilst also giving them an opportunity to learn about teamwork and to chat about the things that matter most to them.
The sessions, run by the Merseyside Youth Association (MYA) have been supported by Knowsley Council, Volair, the Lee Cooper Foundation, The Bill Shankly Foundation, STEP (Support, Together, Empower, Prevention) and the Community Foundation for Merseyside. The programme was funded by Merseyside’s Police Commissioners’ Youth Diversion Fund. The fund, now in its second year, is focused on giving young people opportunities to engage in safe and positive activities to reduce crime and ASB, which can spike during the summer holidays.
In Prescot the sessions have been running every day since 24 July and will finish on 31 August. Around 20 to 30 young people have attended each event and feedback from those involved has been really positive.
Dale Blackburn Head of Knowsley Services at MYA said: “The success of this project is testament to the hard work of multiple organisations and demonstrates just what can be achieved for our young people through a joined up and collaborative approach. Knowsley are lucky to have some incredible organisations and services all working towards the same vision of ensuring safe, meaningful and high-quality activities and experiences for young people. The outcomes of this work both for participants, and the wider community are immeasurable. Well done to all involved and well done to our young people.”
Cllr Graham Morgan, Leader of Knowsley Council went down to one of the sessions to chat with some of the young people involved. He said: “It was great to see so many young people involved and really engaging in the activities on offer. The summer holidays can be a challenging time for many families and youngsters can get easily bored, so to have something like this on offer, for free, is great. Its not only a chance to get active but also to connect with other young people and having specialist youth workers on hand also means that they are able to listen to our young people and provide advice and support – if needed.
“Here in Knowsley we understand the importance of working with our young people to help shape and support them and give them the tools and opportunities they need to thrive. So to see these sessions for myself and see these young people so positively engaged is a really encouraging sign – not just for them but hopefully for their families and wider community too.”
“We are working with the Merseyside Youth Association (MYA) to deliver a range of youth services and activities. In addition to the Prescot programme, MYA also secured additional funding to deliver a similar project with One Knowsley at All Saints High School and Volair in Kirkby.”
MYA has been supporting young people in the region for more than 130 years and in Knowsley are working closely with the Council and other partners to deliver a range of youth services and activities. Their work in Knowsley includes targeted detached Youth Work, 1-1 mentoring and support programmes and the provision of specialist health workers. They also work hard to support and empower young people have their voices heard and influence change locally.