Published: Thursday, 7 September 2023
A basketball programme in South Wigston for young people at risk of being involved in anti-social behaviour has been extended due to its success.
This summer Oadby & Wigston Borough Council (OWBC) has been working in partnership with the Leicester Riders Foundation (LRF) and Leicestershire Police to deliver the Positive Futures programme, which provides diversionary activity for those aged 8-17 at risk of becoming involved in crime or violence.
Owing to its popularity with participants and effectiveness as a tool for engaging with local youth, the twice-weekly programme delivered by Leicester Riders basketball coaches at Blaby Road Park will now be running until 25 October.
The sessions can see upwards of 20 attendees from a diverse range of backgrounds, and provide an opportunity to develop not only basketball skills, but also promote teamwork, build confidence and create trust between the young people, the police and the council.
Some participants were signposted to the programme by either OWBC or local police, although sessions are open to all who would like to attend.
This project is part-funded by the UK government through the UK Shared Prosperity Fund, and also through the Oadby & Wigston Community Safety Partnership. The safety partnership is made up of a number of agencies including OWBC, Leicestershire Police and local schools who all work together to reduce crime and anti-social behaviour in the borough.
Councillor Kevin Loydall, Chair of the Oadby & Wigston Community Safety Partnership, said: “Introducing young people to this fun, exhilarating activity where they are surrounded by role models is a proven way of reducing anti-social behaviour, and it’s been great to see the programme be met with such enthusiasm.
“Within the borough, South Wigston has been identified as at particular risk of anti-social behaviour but we hope that by working in partnership to build relationships and trust we can tackle this, and initiatives such as Positive Futures will benefit not just the participants but residents as a whole.”
Laura Shephard, General Manager at LRF said: “The programme has enabled us to build strong relationships with young people from the Oadby & Wigston area throughout the summer holidays, seeing a group of regular attendees.
“Here at LRF we are excited to take the next steps in our delivery and build on these initial foundations and take the programme to the next level over the next eight weeks, where the young people will take part in a variety of workshops around hygiene, mental health and respect.
“Partnership working is key, and we thank the team at OWBC for developing this partnership with us.”
PC Reece Breslin, from Leicestershire Police said: “The Oadby, Wigston and South Wigston beat team are pleased to see the great work carried out locally by the Positive Futures Programme. It showcases how excellent partnership working can create fun diversionary activities for local young people to get involved in.
“We have all enjoyed and benefitted from this initiative and would like to thank everyone involved for all of their hard work.”
To get involved with the programme or to refer a young person please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org