27 Aug 2009

The Children's Society’s new Move! Project, in association with the Football Foundation, was launched by Manchester United and England goalkeeper Ben Foster. Move! will use football to promote social inclusion, increase confidence and self-esteem and reduce the likelihood of young people becoming involved in crime or anti-social behaviour.

Ben gave the young people tips on becoming a world-class keeper. He also signed autographs for the young people. Ben’s appearance is courtesy of the partnership between The Children's Society and the Manchester United Foundation.

Over 50 people attended the launch event, held at Witton Albion football club. Young people, project workers and those from children’s services came together to make the day a huge success.

The project, using football to help young people at risk of becoming involved in crime or anti-social behaviour, has been funded by a three-year grant worth £220,090 from the Football Foundation. Youth offences in Cheshire cost the county around £12m annually (YJB 2007) and the project will target those most at risk of offending.

The Children’s Society project will work with young people aged 12 – 17 years who live in the Vale Royal area. It will offer twice weekly football sessions, monthly “kids and carers” sports sessions, as well as regular small group discussions on alcohol, drugs, healthy lifestyle and emotional problems. In addition there will be positive leisure activities particularly during school holidays. The project will also give local volunteers the opportunity to be recruited, trained and involved in the project, particularly in the capacity of mentor.

Barbara McDade, Programme Manager of The Children's Society’s Move! Project, commented: “We believe that football can be a real force for good to help some of these young people who might otherwise be lacking in direction in their lives, and therefore at risk of offending or causing anti-social behaviour. Ben Foster’s support today underlines how significantly people from all walks of life are taking the need to adopt innovative approaches to tackling youth offending and ultimately making childhood better.”

Ben Foster, commented: “Using football to keep young people out of trouble with the law is an innovative and exciting idea and something that l’m delighted to be involved with, through the Manchester United Foundation. The work that The Children's Society and the Football Foundation are carrying out is a model of how to engage young people in community projects through football”.

Notes to Editors:

Photography available.

For photos and further information please contact Rafi Cooper, Media Officer, The Children's Society, 0207 841 4526 or Rafi.cooper@childsoc.org.uk

The Children’s Society: The Children’s Society is a leading children’s charity committed to making childhood better for all children in the UK; www.childrenssociety.org.uk

Football Foundation: Funded by the Premier League, The Football Association and the Government, the Football Foundation is the nation’s largest sports charity with a £40m budget going straight into the heart of football.

Manchester United Foundation: Ben Foster appeared courtesy of the Manchester United Foundation. The Children's Society is one of the Manchester United Foundation’s two national charity partners. The Manchester United Foundation educates, motivates and inspires young people to build a better life for themselves and improve the communities they live in.