More than 1,000 young people living in Hartlepool are taking part in Sports Pop-Up sessions this summer thanks to a £2,000 grant from UK Steel Enterprise’s Community Support Fund.
The town’s Belle Vue Community Sports & Youth Centre, celebrating its 30th anniversary this year, provides a whole range of activities for young people.
The help from UK Steel Enterprise, Tata Steel’s business-support subsidiary, has enabled the charity to introduce Pop-Up sessions in local parks, housing estates and other suitable areas as part of its Outreach work.
The money has paid for the leaders and staff needed to take football, cricket, hockey, Frisbee and other activities to youngsters right on their doorsteps.
Belle Vue Centre is recognised for the work it does to combat the effects of anti-social behaviour by providing activities for young people, many of them unemployed.
The Centre on Kendal Road has sports halls, a gym, dance studio, meeting rooms, a Youth Club and other programmes.
“We know that young people are more likely to attend activity sessions close to their home and that’s why we wanted to want to take these Sports Pop-Up sessions into the heart of communities,” said Barry Kennedy, senior youth co-ordinator.
“If we can engage with young people on the streets and encourage them to take part in positive activity then we hope they will also come along to the Centre or other local youth clubs.
“We can also target areas that may have been highlighted as a problem for anti social behaviour by police and other agencies,” he added.
“Fund raising is a constant headache for us as many budgets are being cut so without UKSE’s help we couldn’t have done this. We have been able to organise two-hour sessions twice a week for 26 weeks through the summer and that means activities for about 1040 young people.”
The Centre has had an excellent response to the sessions so far with the benefits for those taking part including fresh air, exercise, the chance to make friends and improve a range of skills, work as a team, build confidence and self-esteem and learn to respect rules as well as have fun.
Joan Cook of UK Steel Enterprise said: “Providing healthy, fun activities for young people not only benefits them but also helps to build stronger community relationships.
“Our Community Support Fund is designed to help improve life for anyone living in our steel areas and we’re very pleased we were able to back this project.”
• Pictured (above) is Joan Cook, of funder UK Steel Enterprise, and senior youth co-ordinator Barry Kennedy (front) with some of the young people enjoying Sports Up Sessions this summer.