Pursuant in its ambition to keep young people active over recent weeks, the Herts Sports Partnership recently partnered with several agencies including: Hertfordshire Constabulary Schools and Gangs team, Families First, St Giles Trust, The Links Academy and John Warner School to deliver 200 free equipment packs to vulnerable young people across Hertfordshire.
Recipients received a choice of a pair boxing gloves and skipping rope, a basketball, a footballs or a rugby ball along with a business card that directed young people to the newly created Hertfordshire Sporting Chance YouTube channel, which hosts content from deliverers on the programme that young people could follow from their own home. The packs also contained ‘Lives Not Knives’ branded wristbands as well as literature around knife crime, donated by the police, to drive home some key messages.
HSP – usually based at the University of Hertfordshire – ran a number of regular Sporting Chance sessions through the county in community facilities, schools and sports clubs prior to lockdown. Project Officer Charlie Mann was keen to ensure that the attendees were not forgotten during such a challenging period. He commented:
‘Sporting Chance has been working with various agencies over the past 18 months to help vulnerable young people become more physically active and use a sport as a way of encouraging them into more positive activities. Since the lockdown measures came into force, it has been increasingly tough to engage with at-risk individuals and we have seen a sharp spike in anti-social behaviour. We wanted to provide a way of helping those agencies interact with young people and using Sport England investment have managed to reach 200 of the most vulnerable young people in our county and offer them a way to keep on track through this severely testing time.’
Staff from the partner agencies all collected the kit bags from the Hertfordshire Sports Village, ready to doorstep deliver as they continued their regular contact work. Helen Croughton from Hertfordshire Constabulary described how vital ongoing interaction is:
‘We have worked closely with Herts Sports Partnership for the past 18 months and are delighted to be able to provide Lives Not Knives branded equipment as part of the activity packs raising awareness and encouraging open conversations about knife crime and staying safe. All of the young people that we work with will receive a pack that will assist them in keeping active over the coming months and beyond, we look forward to our continued partnership work to support our young people in Hertfordshire.’