News Date: Tuesday 24th July 2007
Midnight Football kicks off to a successful start
Around two dozen teenagers turned up at Southwick Leisure Centre last Saturday evening for the first of the Midnight Football pilots being held there over the summer.
The project aims to take Adur teenagers, aged 13-17, off the streets late at night by providing the sports facilities under the supervision of professionals and volunteers from local agencies.
The idea is modelled on a similar scheme in Scotland which has seen a big fall in late night anti-social behaviour amongst youths. A steering group has been brought together which includes Adur police, Adur Council, the West Sussex Youth Service and Adur Athletic Football Club. On Saturday night volunteers from Adur Athletic refereed informal matches in the sports hall with participants from the police and sea scouts proving to be eager players, not least divisional commander Chief Inspector Lawrence Hobbs. Subsequently the police have challenged the youngsters to come along to future evenings and take them on at football.
Future dates planned are August 4th, August 18th and September 18th, all at Southwick, from 10pm - midnight. Both girls and boys are welcomed and in future they will be looking to lay on basketball as well as football.
East Worthing and Adur MP Tim Loughton, who coordinated the event, commented:
'This was an encouraging start for Midnight Football and those teenagers who came along had a good time and managed to wear themselves and all the volunteers out very successfully. I am sure that numbers will build up over the summer and now the police have thrown down the challenge to take on all comers there is an added attraction.
'I was very impressed with the sporting prowess of our Chief Inspector and his colleagues and I would urge everyone to spread the word about this exciting initiative which is part of helping giving young people something constructive to do when otherwise they may be out on the streets. It is also particularly gratifying that part of the funding for the project is coming from the police's own proceeds of crime fund, recycling tainted money into good causes.'