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Community

COMMUNITY: THE OFFSIDE PROJECT

3 November 2016

Youth Offender Workshops...

Through the Community Department, Walsall Football Club are working with the West Midlands Police Football Unit to reduce the number of youth offenders at football matches. 

Football Offender Manager Jane Thursfield is working alongside PC Stu Spencer - the Dedicated Football Officer for the club - and Walsall FC to develop education workshops. 

The police have developed a multi-agency approach by working with Walsall Football Club, Walsall Youth Offending Team and The Prince’s Trust to create a series of workshops for young people at risk of offending. 

The workshops, held weekly at the Banks’s Stadium, aim to prevent, educate, and divert them from being involved in future disorders, which impact on the community and the football club. The intention is that these workshops can become an alternative to a banning order. 

Through the initiative, we have worked with a small number of Walsall FC youth risk supporters who have attended this programme. 

Since she was put in post, Jane Thursfield has been managing risk supporters by applying for football banning orders, working with football clubs and looking at ways to address youth offenders. 

Jane said: “We have developed a pilot project and were thrilled that Walsall FC agreed to be a part of it. Our hope is that, once we debrief about the pilot, it is a programme that can be extended to the other Midlands clubs and quite possibly nationally.” 

Adam Davy, Community Director, and Club Safety Officer Jim O’Grady have been the representatives from Walsall FC who have supported the pilot. 

“It has been fantastic to be invited and a part of the pilot project”, said Davy. “This Wednesday saw the workshops reach a conclusion. It was great to meet the young people and their families and educate them further about issues that affect them directly either when they are supporting the football club or in their day to day lives. 

“Hopefully we have all had a positive impact on the young people and they can take away some valuable lessons. It would be great to see this project extended to other clubs.”

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