Extend AFC Bournemouth referral scheme to include young offenders
The commitment builds on a relationship initially developed with the AFC Bournemouth Community Sports Trust, the charitable arm of Premier League football club AFC Bournemouth (AFCB), towards the end of his first term of office. The PCC agreed to work with them to explore the possibility of extending their work with young people locally to include offenders or those on the cusp of offending behaviour.
In early 2018 the OPCC started working with the club to develop a scheme. Following initial conversations it became apparent that AFCB didn’t feel they had the capacity to offer a programme for young offenders, but could support young people coming to the attention of school pastoral care due to poor attendance, exhibiting offending behaviours or involvement with criminal activities.
Following these meetings AFCB carried out a seven week pilot with 12 young people aged between 13 and 15 from the Bourne Academy. The young people involved were provided with transport to the stadium and other locations to ensure engagement from those who may not be able to travel themselves.
The pilot carried out support in areas such as confidence building, communications skills, team working, community engagement and personal safety.
It also included inputs from external agencies such as DWFRS and first aid trainers Ouch Training. The result of this pilot was that Bourne Academy reported 10 of the 12 participants were exhibiting improved behaviour and attendance at school. The young people were asked to complete survey forms on completion of the course and 60% reported improved attendance at school, and 50% reported improved behaviour outside school.
Following on from the pilot, AFCB have been successful in applying to the Premier League for funding for this scheme, securing funding for a two year period. They are carrying out work to expand the programme to more schools across Bournemouth and Poole.
The PCC continues to work with AFCB with the intention to expand the project across the rest of Dorset.