We wanted to establish new Satellite Clubs that focused on engaging inactive young people from some of the most difficult to reach groups across the sub-region. We identified geographical areas with high levels of deprivation and organisations who work closely with hard to reach groups that experience high levels of disruption in their lives, such as the Sunderland Youth Offending Service (YOS). These young people are much less likely to be active due to their personal, environmental and social circumstances.
Using the satellite club model, we worked with the Sunderland YOS to build self-esteem, promote social modelling and attempted to re-engage young people within their local communities. Once a young person gains confidence, training and new skills within the rehabilitation programme, the aspiration was that they will be able to live a crime free lifestyle in the future.
We worked with the YOS to undertake a consultation exercise to ascertain whether sport and physical activity would be appealing and if so, what type of activities would be of interest. The consultation also identified the main barriers to participation which included transport and costs. We then formulated an activity programme that met the needs of the young people.
It was essential to have coaches that possessed the correct skill set to be able to communicate and manage young people from very challenging backgrounds. We recruited coaches and instructors who themselves had been through the criminal justice system, to act as role models who the young people felt comfortable discussing some of their wider issues with. We provided Youth Insight and Behaviour Change training to all coaches and leaders who were delivering sessions.
We worked closely with the YOS to help structure the programme and advise on how the funding could be best utilised. Working with non-sport organisations of this nature required far higher levels of guidance and support from us than the more traditional satellite club settings we worked with during the 2013-17 period.
As part of the wider Youth Justice provision in Sunderland the sport intervention programme has helped to build stable relationships between young people and practitioners which is fundamental to successful rehabilitation. During sporting/activity sessions, topics have been discussed around substance misuse, re-offending, positive life choices and the importance of education, training and employment.
Feedback from young people who attended the sessions stated that participating in physical activity and discussing their issues in an environment which is not an office, allows them to express their views openly and has given them something positive to help focus their minds.