children & young people

Tackling youth violence

THE move follows a round table in April chaired by Jeremy Wright, secretary of state for digital, culture, media and sport with minister for sport and civil society Mims Davies. It brought together sports bodies, charities and creative organisations as part of the Prime Minister’s Serious Youth Violence Summit to tackle knife crime.

The Summit brought together more than 100 attendees from a diverse range of backgrounds, including young people with experience living in communities impacted by serious violence, law enforcement, health, the voluntary sector, and businesses and education leaders Premier League Kicks (PL Kicks) launched in 2006 to use the power of football to help youngsters in some of the most high-need areas. By engaging youngsters in constructive activities, including a wide variety of sports, coaching, music and educational and personal development sessions, the programme has helped to increase sports participation rates with authorities reporting significant reductions in anti-social behaviour in the areas in which it is delivered.


The programme started with four pilot projects, at Tottenham Hotspur, Manchester City, Fulham and Brentford, and is now delivered by 69 professional clubs. It has engaged more than 285,000 young people since it began and currently reaches 75,000 participants a year.

“The Premier League and our clubs recognise that young people today face huge pressures in their lives. Our education and social inclusion programmes engage thousands of youngsters every week in areas of high need,” said Bill Bush, Premier League executive director. “Working in partnership with a range of government and third-sector organisations we are determined to use our popularity and reach to strengthen local communities. This includes working together with young people and supporting them in understanding how to deal with the very real dangers of gangs and knives.” The government will also work with other sports organisations, including those for basketball, boxing and cycling, as well as community-based sports charities to use sport to engage young people in hard to reach areas.

The Premier League will expand its Premier League Kicks community programme to work with the government to support young people in serious violence hot spots.

Sport England, which invests more than £10m in projects that use sport to support crime reduction, has also pledged to increase investment in sport and physical activity for children in hot spot areas. This will include increasing the number of sports ‘satellite’ clubs, which are held after school and at weekends for 14 to 19-year-olds and aim to bridge the gap between school, college and community sport. A total of 10,000 satellite clubs have been established in England, helping over half a million young people to get active. “Sport has the power to reach and connect people of all ages and backgrounds. We want to harness that power to encourage young people to choose positive activities that build confidence and key skills, rather than turn to crime and violence,” said Jeremy Wright. “Sports bodies already do excellent work in the community and we will work with the sector to expand sporting opportunities in youth crime hot spots to reach as many young people as possible.”

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