The Ellesmere Port Local Policing Unit is on the ball with a fun-packed way to reduce anti-social behaviour over the school holidays.
The unit has received lots of positive feedback on its youth engagement activity days, the latest of which are being held at Civic Square in Ellesmere Port and Sytchcroft Park in Neston throughout the summer.
Held in conjunction with Cheshire West and Chester Council’s Youth Service and community safety wardens and free to attend for children of all ages, they boast an inflatable football pitch and Panna Soccer Cage as well as Xbox and PlayStation consoles.
A large number of participants and parents have praised the activity days to the LPU and as well as giving youngsters something fun to do over the school holidays they have coincided with a marked decrease in anti-social behaviour in and around Ellesmere Port.
Sergeant Lisa Wilson said: “We began organising youth engagement days in conjunction with Cheshire West and Chester Council’s Youth Service and community safety wardens last summer, hiring inflatable football pitches to give children and young people something fun and physical to do.
“They proved to be very popular and on the days that the youth engagement days were held there were no incidents of anti-social behaviour reported to police in the areas they took place in.
“So we decided to appeal to local businesses and councillors for funds to help us buy our own inflatable football pitch, to ensure that the events could continue to be held.
“Thanks to the generosity of the likes of Innospec, Essar Oil Ltd, local Hyundai and Porsche dealerships and local councillors, we managed to raise enough money and went into local schools with our new inflatable pitch in the lead up to the summer holidays.
“Cheshire West and Chester Council’s Youth Service and community safety wardens went into the schools with us, bringing their respective Panna Soccer Cage and games consoles.
“The school visits sparked even more interest in our youth engagement days and we have had really good turnouts and received lots of positive feedback from youngsters and their parents since we started holding them every Thursday and Saturday during the summer holidays.
“They began on Thursday 26 July and will run until Saturday 1 September, and the youth engagement days continue to coincide with a marked decrease in anti-social behaviour in and around Ellesmere Port.
“They give youngsters a positive and fun way to spend their time during the school holidays and the Youth Service has introduced healthy snacks and smoothies to those who come along as part of the overarching Eat Well Be Active strategy.”
Councillor Nicole Meardon, Cabinet Member for Children and Young People, said: “The council’s Youth Service has been proactive in providing a pop up Youth Zone at all the events, alongside the inflatable Panna Soccer Cage.
“We feel that it is really important that these events reach out and offer support to local young people who may not attend their local youth provisions.
“The Youth Zone offers support and informal education for young people on any issues that are affecting them and provides advice and guidance on the consequences of anti-social behaviour, to spark healthy choices.”
The remaining summer holiday youth engagement days will be held at Civic Square in Ellesmere Port from 6pm to 8pm on the Thursdays of 23 August and 30 August and at Sytchcroft Park in Neston from 3pm to 5pm on the Saturdays of 25 August and 1 September.
Sgt Wilson added: “Any children and young people who would like to come along will be made more than welcome, and plans are afoot to make youth engagement days even better moving forward.
“At the Ellesmere Port LPU we are trying to raise money to buy an inflatable volleyball court for local children and young people to use and are appealing for donations.
“Anyone who may be willing to make a donation towards the cause should email me at email@example.com.”