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College to host police’s new weekly youth sports sessions

Posted: 23 September 2022

Officers from the Ashfield and Mansfield Operation Reacher teams have teamed up with West Nottinghamshire College, Amazon and the Support Through Sport charity to offer free multi-sport sessions to young people.

The ‘R Project’ sessions are taking place every Friday in the college's Derby Road-based sports hall and are open to eight to 11-year-olds and 12 to 18-year-olds.

The next free session will run on Friday (23 September) thanks to community spirited cops using the power of sport to break down barriers and empower young people.

The free one-hour sessions, held at 5pm and 6pm for each group, will include football and another activity each week and no pre-booking is necessary.

Operation Reacher is a proactive community police operation set up to target organised criminality and strengthen community relations.

Members of the Ashfield team are already running successful football and boxing sessions in Sutton-in-Ashfield, and were approached by the college to set up the new initiative.

PC James Brown, of Nottinghamshire Police, said: “Building stronger relationships with young people and their families is a vital part of our work. We want them to see past the uniform and understand that we are there to help them.

“Sport had a great way of bringing people together and we have had a huge amount of success with our existing football and boxing initiatives. Some very hard to reach young people are now engaging with us constructively and many others have made new friends and learned new skills. I am really excited about expanding this work to Mansfield and can’t wait to get started.”

Andrew Cropley, principal and chief executive of the college, said: “I was delighted to meet some of the Operation Reacher team at an event in Ashfield recently. I had been working with other chief executives from the public sector on a leadership course and a project we were leading on focussed on child poverty and how we could help to exploit opportunities which are available for individuals.

“It was after speaking with the police officers at this event that I decided to offer the college’s sports hall facilities for the R Project weekly sports sessions, which are being aimed at children initially. I am really pleased that we can offer our space in this way when it isn’t being used by our students and I am looking forward to us working with the project more as this service broadens out to the wider community.”

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