South Yorks crime commissioner spots football stars of the future

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Football stars of the future showed off their soccer skills as an extra special guest watched the action from the touchline.

South Yorkshire Police Crime Commissioner Dr Alan Billings went pitch side to see first-hand SportFX South Yorkshire in action at Firth Park Academy in Sheffield.

The police-run project hosts free football, dance and boxing sessions across the county in a bid to offer positive activities to 10 to 19-year-olds.

And the Commissioner was keen to get to the heart of the action and learn more about the scheme launched in 2010 to tackle anti-social behaviour.

The South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner Dr Alan Billings said: “I was very impressed by the SportFX South Yorkshire project and the commitment of officers working with the participants.

“It was interesting to see how football unites individuals from different backgrounds. These young people would not normally have the opportunity to engage with each other, but SFXSY provides the opportunity for them to build important relationships with each other and the police.”

More than 1,000 young people are already involved in SportFXSY and Firth Park Academy is just one of many sessions across South Yorkshire. As well as football, young people take part in dance classes and boxing sessions are about to launch later this month.

PCSO Craig Butcher, who heads up the scheme, said: “We were thrilled to host Commissioner Billings at our Firth Park Academy session and thank him for taking the time to visit what we feel is an extremely worthwhile project.

“The Commissioner seemed really impressed by the young people who are a credit to South Yorkshire.”

He added: “We want to spread the message that the sessions are free and anyone aged 10 to 19 can attend, no matter where you live or what school you go to.

“Lots of young people don’t have access to activities or don’t have a couple of quid to pay for a class so our message is come along and have a go.

“Those attending the sessions can benefit from training as well as the chance to work towards recognised qualifications.”

SportFXSY is a South Yorkshire Police led project sponsored by Deputy Chief Constable Andy Holt.

The scheme is funded through a partnership with the Sheffield & Hallamshire County FA and South Yorkshire Sport to provide an opportunity for young people to develop positive life skills, such as team working, discipline and communication skills, as well as encouraging healthy lifestyles. SportFXSY also aims to deter young people from becoming involved in anti-social behaviour.

Keeping its roots firmly in the community, sessions run in partnership with local schools, providing access to high-quality astro-turf facilities and gymnasiums. They are delivered by qualified FA coaches with the support of volunteers, PCSOs and Police Officers, as part of their community engagement work.

A full list of activities can be found at www.southyorkshire.police.uk. Click on About Us where you will find a section dedicated to SportFX South Yorkshire.

You can also keep up to date with the latest information on Twitter @sportfxsy.