Balsall Common youngsters fall hook, line and sinker for fishing in police funded anti-social behaviour programme
6 March 2012
A FISHING scheme for young people in Balsall Common is celebrating a £750 windfall from local police to help fund coaching for the next three months.
The initiative follows complaints from local shopkeepers about groups of youths gathering in the main shopping area and intimidating residents.
The donated cash – from West Midlands Police's Property Act Fund – will be used by charity Angling Unlimited to run a 'Get Hooked on Fishing' programme for the youths at nearby Lavender Hall Fishery in Berkswell.
The programme will run over several weeks from Easter and is designed to encourage the young people to build a brighter future for themselves through angling participation and progression through the different stages of achievement.
Angling Unlimited coaches work with young people at risk of crime, either as victim or offender, addressing issues such as low self-esteem, poor school attendance and underachievement in a sociably competitive environment.
The coaching sessions will be free to the youngsters, who will be referred onto the course by local neighbourhood officers.
Any participants who are subsequently involved in anti-social behaviour in Balsall Common will no longer be able to take part and officers will seek alternative routes to curb their behaviour.
Neighbourhood Sergeant Tony Hanlon said: "This project is a great asset to the area and helps us to channel young people's energy into an enjoyable hobby rather than the kind of anti-social behaviour that can stem from having 'nothing to do'.
"I'm pleased to be involved in securing this funding to help ensure that they can continue to accommodate more and more young people in the club."
Cash from the Property Act Fund is generated from the sale of goods seized by police. When all efforts to reunite the property with rightful owners have been exhausted, items are sold at auction and the cash used to fund community projects like this.
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More information on Angling Unlimited can be found at www.anglingunlimited.org.uk
In the photograph, Angling Unlimited's project manager Andrew Walker scoops up a great catch alongside lead fishing coach Aubrey Smith (left) and Sergeant Hanlon (centre).
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