Kick off for project that reaches out to the young
Football sessions have been taking place as part of a project to boost confidence and skills among young people in West Oxfordshire, and encourage them to lead a more active, positive lifestyle.
Around 20 girls from 10 to 16 years have been attending weekly sessions in Witney organised as part of the RUSH project.
West Oxfordshire District Council is leading RUSH in conjunction with a network of agencies that work with young people. The aim is to create opportunities for young people to engage in positive activities which may build their confidence and self esteem.
Six 15 and 16-year-old girls who took part in football training as part of a pilot of the RUSH project in Witney last summer are helping with the girls’ football sessions.
Witney’s Base 33 youth charity, which works closely with socially excluded and hard-to-reach young people, is leading the football sessions.
In addition to training sessions for girls, mixed sessions for boys and girls also take place every Sunday in Witney.
Base 33 Youth Worker Staci Beevor said: “We’re glad RUSH has been set up and that the Council and others are taking an interest in these young people. The football sessions have been really popular. A mixture of girls take part in the girls-only sessions and they’ve been really enthusiastic. This has presented a good opportunity for the six girls who took part in last year’s trial as they’re now leading sessions, with the help of a proper coach, and it’s a real achievement for them.
“We also get around 40 young people attending the Sunday sessions, some of them stay on the sidelines and have a chat with the youth workers instead of actually playing, but we’ve found this has been a good way of helping this particular group of young people to burn off some energy and get into a positive frame of mind ready to go to school the next day.”
RUSH has also organised for a referred group of Year 6 pupils from Witney’s primary schools to take part in a trial rugby scheme aimed at boosting their confidence before they move up to secondary school. Rugby sessions will continue over the summer holidays and into their first term at secondary school.
Following the launch of the project in Witney, RUSH will be extended to Chipping Norton later this year. The project group is currently looking at ways of reaching out to young people in the town.
RUSH has also organised for children in foster care and their carers to receive a ‘Carer’s Card’ giving them discounted access to the District Council’s leisure facilities in West Oxfordshire. It is hoped that this discount card scheme will be extended to include more young people in the
Cllr Hilary Biles, Cabinet Member for Leisure, Tourism and Health, and Young Persons’ Champion at West Oxfordshire District Council, said: “We are extremely pleased that the RUSH project is already starting to help young people. This is an intervention project which aims to give them a chance to learn and develop new skills, build confidence and hopefully give them interests which may encourage them to engage in positive, rather than negative, activities.”
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