Football League Chairman Greg Clarke has presented Bristol Rovers Football Club with a cheque for nearly £150,000 to help fund their new community project aimed at reducing youth crime in targeted areas within the city.
The Football Foundation will be funding 'The Personal Attainment and Community Training' project (PACT) over the next three years with the first seeing projects taking place in four venues across Bristol. The project will involve young people aged 14-21 taking part in football community projects.
The clubs community department will be working in partnership with the 'Second Chance Project' and the 'Active Communities Network' to reduce risk of young offending and fear of crime.
Head of Rover's Community Department Peter Aitken, said: "This project will involve very positive work in our local community. We will get to work with a lot of young people face to face, which will hopefully enable us to better understand their needs and frustrations.
"Hopefully, we can give them the tools and the guidance to improve things in their own lives, and benefit their local communities by becoming role models for other young people.
"We are hoping to encourage participation in sporting events and increase inclusion in grass-roots sport. We look forward to working with these young people."
Reduction in anti-social behaviour and improved school attendance and performance are also being encouraged by the clubs community team.
James Mapstone from Second Chance Project, which uses positive role models to influence youth into changing their lifestyle towards a more constructive direction, said: "The London clubs have done some great work and I wanted to see that happening in Bristol. We already have a relationship with Bristol Rovers, so they were ideal.
"The young people who sign up for the PACT project will be able to access a range of different courses and projects, and football is an important brand to engage them and get them interested.
"The project aims to be an alternative to hanging around the streets, giving young people something to do and providing them with skills. The relationships and respect they develop for the football coaches allows us to interact better with them and work to reduce anti-social behaviour."
The PACT scheme runs alongside other existing and successful community initiatives run by the club, including the 'Extra Time' project which delivers sporting opportunities for older people.
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