Initiative aims to distract youngsters away from anti-social behaviour through sport in Hartlepool

Darlington and Stockton Times: Youngsters signed up for the Cool Project Youngsters signed up for the Cool Project

YOUNGSTERS are being given the chance sharpen their football skills while tackling anti-social behaviour across Hartlepool.

The Cool Project is designed to reduce the problem of young people causing trouble by offering them a sporting alternative.

The scheme, which is aimed at engaging young people aged from eight to 16-year-olds, aims to deter young people from congregating at local shops due to a previous lack of activities in the Stranton area of the town.

Barry Kennedy, senior youth co-ordinator at Belle Vue Sports Centre, said: “The project is going from strength to strength with more and more young people attending every week.

“Both young people and local residents benefit from the project through the provision of a safe and secure outdoor venue to participate in sporting activities of their choice, getting them off the streets where otherwise they might be involved in anti social behaviour.”

The project, funded by Housing Hartlepool, is a joint partnership which was developed by local residents, Cleveland Police, Hartlepool Borough Council, Belle Vue Sports Centre and Hartlepool Voluntary Development Agency.

Libby Griffiths, tenancy and relations enforcement manager at Housing Hartlepool, said: “The Cool Project is a fantastic opportunity for us to interact with young people whilst providing fun activities in a safe environment which makes a real difference to people’s quality of life.

"It also gives youngsters the opportunity to play sport and engage in motivational activities which help to build their self-esteem and confidence.”

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