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Twenty-four pupils in Telford and Wrekin are set to embark on the new In Your Corner coaching programme designed to set them on a successful path for the future.

Pupils from Telford Park School and The Telford Langley School, will take part in 12 weekly after-school sessions incorporating both football/boxing coaching as well as classroom education, supported by AFC Telford and Brightstar Boxing.

The project will focus on mental as well as physical health and provide a safe network of people to offer guidance and a chance for them to make new and positive friendships. Ultimately the project hopes to gently guide young people away from potential harm.

Kick-starting the change, the Police and Crime Commissioner John Campion is working alongside Telford & Wrekin Council’s Safer & Stronger Communities project which has invested £4,000 into the new youth project. PC Adam Rock and Detective Constable Sian Evans of West Mercia Police have also supported the new project.

Police and Crime Commissioner John Campion said:

“I am pleased to see so many partners, including West Mercia Police, working together to launch this life-changing In Your Corner project.

“Young people are one of the most vulnerable communities in our society and here in West Mercia, I want to ensure they are protected from being exploited by criminals.

“This new project will give young people the chance to develop a passion for sport and helping them develop a path away from potential crime and paving a future that benefits not only themselves but society.”

Councillor Kelly Middleton, Cabinet Member for healthy, safer & stronger communities and partnerships said: 

“Being a cooperative council, we understand the challenges our young people face and by working with partners, can ensure everyone is working together in the best possible way.

“This In Your Corner project is a clear example of how an understanding of our communities means we can position help and support where it’s needed.

“It’s great to see so many young people involved with the scheme and working with inspiring people like AFC Telford and Bright Stars. Having the Police involved too means young people can develop a relationship of trust and support, making it easier to make positive choices for their futures.”

West Mercia Police’s PC Adam Rock and Detective Constable Sian Evans said: “The In Your Corner project is about supporting young people within the community.  Through sporting opportunities that will be available to them, they will learn key skills such as self-discipline, motivation and resilience. 

“It gives them the opportunity to develop their potential through new skills, forging new friendships and we hope that this will have a positive impact on them and that they carry this into their future endeavours.”

Joe Lockley, Founding Director of Brightstar Boxing, said:

“At Brightstar we know the importance of organisations working together to be able to create a holistic impact and a strong support network for these young people.

“We have been working with the police for many years and are very excited to work in partnership with AFC Telford and the local policing team to help empower these young people to thrive.

“We have seen how sport can work as a vehicle for change combined with the mentoring and forming positive relationships with police, coaches and each other – this programme can be life-changing.”

Ian Preece, AFC Telford United Foundation Director, said: “We are pleased to announce we will be working alongside West Mercia Police and Bright Star Boxing. The sessions are designed to meet the social and development needs of our young people.

“We care passionately for the youth within our community and recognise that this provision will offer structured activities to engage and encourage our youngsters into positive activity.

“Youth services provide safe spaces and trusted relationships with adults that can be the difference between being drawn into damaging situations.”

The Safer & Stronger Communities project works in areas of Telford and Wrekin to develop neighbourhood action plans. With help from residents, concerns are identified and through funding and support from community groups, measures are put in to help resolve them with help from a neighbourhood co-ordinator.

The Safer & Stronger Communities project is jointly led by Telford & Wrekin Council and the Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) John Campion. More than £2.5 million has been made available over two years with investment guided directly from feedback at a grass roots level.