Members of Mid and East Antrim Policing and Community Safety Partnership (PCSP) have been getting first-hand experience of a PCSP-funded engagement project for young people in Ballymena.
PCSP Chair Cllr Andrew Wilson visited Carniny Amateur and Youth Football Club last night, (March 9) to see how almost £3,000 of funding is being used to directly engage around 60 teenagers – and to help divert them away from anti-social behaviour (ASB).
“The ‘Teenage Kicks’ sessions are themed around the concept that playing soccer is much better than becoming involved in or being engaged in anti-social behaviour, drugs or alcohol,” said Cllr Wilson.
“These four separate events were organised to include social and fun activities and several special seminars that involve a series of discussion and information sessions.
“PCSP agreed funding of up to £2,910.00 to allow Carniny Amateur and Youth Football Club to focus on the challenges facing young people,” he added.
The ‘Teenage Kicks’ project offers a mix of two-hour sessions being delivered over several weeks, which tackle issues such as, the impact of drugs alcohol on people, families and on local communities.
A number of professionals are delivering this project along with experts who will engage the young participants in group discussions, debates and role-play.
Billy O’Flaherty, Carniny Amateur and Youth Football Club Secretary, who welcomed the PCSP visitors to Ballymena North said: “The positive impact of sport on the lives and development of young people is very important.
“Being directly involved with sporting activities – or even when just listening to past players describe their experiences - gives our ‘Teenage Kicks’ participants first hand advice and guidance.
“Unfortunately, many young people in the borough are being lured into a culture of drugs, alcohol and ASB so we hope that our information and discussion sessions will serve to highlight the consequences of this type of activity and the impact that it can have on people, families and communities,” he said.
Sport is also expected to be a ‘winner’ too as Carniny Amateur and Youth Football Club’s also aim to show the many opportunities and openings available with the club for young people to become more directly involved in sport.
Billy O’Flaherty concluded: “Carniny has openings and opportunities for all ages, both male and female to become involved. There are junior coaching positions, administration, coaching assistants’ positions and those just offering support to existing coaching staff.”