Chantry Academy: Tackling anti-social behaviour with football

“Anti-social behaviour has a real impact on local communities and businesses and that is why we decided to tackle the issue head-on. We want to help reduce anti-social behaviour by engaging with people from different walks of life and show that people in uniform are friendly and approachable.” Scott Walker, Anti-Social Behaviour Officer
According to a recent survey conducted by Co-op Secure Response, more than a quarter (26%) of local businesses see anti-social behaviour as a ‘very big’ or ‘quite a big’ problem. After coming up against anti-social behaviour and listening to businesses’ concerns, Co-op Secure Response and Suffolk Constabulary decided to come together for a series of football matches with students at Chantry Academy last summer.
Forty hand-picked students from the academy were invited to participate, including twenty young people who already take part in community activities, such as the Police Cadets.
Craig Gibbs, PCSO, Suffolk Police says: “A series of six football matches provided a fun way to bring together young people from different backgrounds to learn from each other. It allowed us to break down barriers and open up a dialogue while also helping us keep anti-social behaviour to a minimum in Chantry during the summer holidays.”
Over the six-week programme, more than 30 children attended. The football matches were followed by an educational session that explored the consequences of anti-social behaviour.
Scott says: “I am really proud to be part of a proactive security business that is making a difference in communities across Suffolk. We have been working with Suffolk Police for over five years now, and our partnership shows that when businesses work with local authorities we can lower crime rates and create a brighter future for young people.”
Since the series of football matches, none of the participating young people have been involved in anti-social behaviour.
Craig says: “The young people involved in this initiative now actively come and speak to me on the street and chat about any problems they are having. They have all grabbed this opportunity with both hands and made friends in the process as well. It is amazing what can be achieved with a game of football and just taking the time to listen.”

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