NTFC Community Trust’s Premier League Kicks programme provides free street football sessions across the county aimed at engaging young people at risk of crime, anti-social behaviour and gang culture. Please see ntfccommunity.co.uk/pl-kicks
As part of Premier League Kicks, NTFC Community Trust staff have been training groups of young leaders in the role of crime ambassadors to raise awareness around crime and act as role models to educate younger pupils. Anti-crime messages and education are powerful coming from local young people giving up their time who care about their neighbourhoods and want to make a difference. The idea is to empower the young people who attend Kicks to identify and discuss the areas of crime that affect their community and explore how they can raise awareness around them. Using youth voice as a tool to help improve the safety of local communities. Managed by Northants Community Fund, the training programme is funded by iwill, a campaign that aims to make participation in social action the norm for young people under 20.
Staff are trained to deliver educational workshops as part of the ‘Fearless’ programme via Crimestoppers UK; teaching young people how to identify crime and report it anonymously via the Fearless.org website. The training included leadership skills and crime content on knife crime, hate crime, county lines, gangs and peer pressure.
The ambassador training aims:
• To increase confidence and self-esteem
• To learn leadership, communication, co-operation, problem-solving and teamwork skills
• To work with different people
• To learn more about yourself
• To plan, organise and lead activities
• To improve knowledge around crime, the law and crime prevention.
• To take ownership over local issues that affect you and try to do something positive
• To enjoy taking on new responsibilities
What is social action?
Youth social action refers to activities that young people can do to make a positive difference to others or the environment. This can be through formal or informal activities. Taking small positive actions to improve your home, school or local community can all make a big difference.
Social action as a crime ambassador
Students choose which areas of crime they are most affected by in their local community and create a presentation to deliver to younger pupils to help raise awareness about the issue. They can decide which format to create the presentation in.
During the summer term 2021, Premier League Kicks co-ordinator Anna Letts trained year 8 and 9 pupils at Sir Christopher Hatton Academy in Wellingborough as well as a group of year 10 and 11 Northampton cadets. These two groups responded well to the training and openly discussed some of the crime issues affecting their communities. Participants now feel more confident in identifying a crime and feel more confident knowing how to report a crime. Evaluation results show that all ambassadors improved their knowledge on:
-what anti social behaviour is,
-The risks of carrying a knife,
-The law around knife crime
-why people do not want to report crime,
-why it is important to speak up and report crime,
-how the police help us prevent crime,
PCSO Wellingborough schools link Phil Dobson visited the Hatton students to show them examples of knives given in by the public as well as reinforce key messages. He also answered questions on stop and search, anti-social behaviour and talked about building a positive relationship between young people and the police. This benefited the students hugely, hearing about real life stories from their local area. It had a greater impact and the group remembered this visit vividly. The PCSO was able to have open, direct conversation with the students about all kinds of areas such as stop and search, improving the relationship between the police and young people, the consequences of carrying a weapon or being with someone who is. The misconception from the young people about 'self defence' was addressed at length. Feedback afterwards about the most useful part of the training was: "Learning about all the laws around knife crime." "I have learnt how important it is to not carry around a knife." "I now know the laws around carrying knives."
Feedback from PE teacher Mel Blackmore, Sir Christopher Hatton Academy.
“I think the project is great, the students have been offered a chance to show their leadership skills and gain confidence within themselves to help others. Many of the students have witnessed criminal activity before within their own life experiences already and this project has given them the understanding of what could happen if they were to go down that route, which can only be the best way to avoid this for them.”