A new initiative has been launched in Buckie to minimise anti-social behaviour and provide more young people with opportunities to get involved in sport and physical activity.
The Street Soccer initiative was launched through a partnership between Active Schools Buckie and Police Scotland during the October school half-term. After hearing about the large number of police call-outs for youth-related incidents in the area, Active Schools coordinator David Shaw created the programme with the aim of strengthening the community of Buckie and making it a safer place to live.
The programme provided 20 children from P7 to S2 free access to football sessions and included half-time team talks from the community police officers regarding local issues that may affect the young people now or in future. The officers were also open to questions from the group about any issues they may have experienced individually.
David said: “The sessions were well received by the participants, police officers, Councillors and by the Buckie community.
"By running these free football sessions, not only are we providing opportunities for young people to stay active outwith school, we are also giving the children an understanding of how they can help to provide a safer community alongside the police, Active Schools and their own school community.
“I am delighted with the partnership and support of Police Scotland with this initiative and I’m hoping this will continue to develop in the future.”
Representatives from Buckie Thistle Football Club also supported the sessions and held a 'beat the goalie' competition with first team-goalkeeper Lee Herbert, for a chance to win a signed Buckie Thistle football top.
Community police officer for Buckie, Rachel Barclay said: “One of the main priorities set out in the local outcome improvement plan for Buckie is to build a better future for our children and young people in Moray.
"Children and young people in Scotland are an integral part of the communities we serve, and we are committed to supporting them, and most importantly, keeping them safe.
“Using these preventative measures will mean less reactive work would be needed in the future and as a result we have seen a decrease in the number of calls from youths involved in anti-social behaviour.”
Some of the young people have now become more involved with the S1/2 football training at Buckie High School or been signposted to join local clubs Buckie Thistle and Deveronvale.
The initiative also saw three Buckie Councillors in attendance. Councillor Gordon Cowie said: “It was great to see the kids enjoying a bit of exercise in these trying times and I can’t thank the police and Buckie High School for all the time and effort they have put in. It was very worthwhile.”
Through the programme’s success, Active Schools in Elgin have been approached by the community police officer to run a similar project and tackle a build-up of anti-social behaviour in the run-up to Christmas.
As well as the local police, Active Schools Elgin have partnered with Elgin City Football Club and have been able to set up a street football pitch on Elgin High Street as well as at a local primary school.
Find out more
- Find out more about Active Schools Moray