Posted on 19th August 2019

A junior football club in Runcorn is receiving support from the county’s police and crime commissioner to allow it keep providing free activities to stop young people turning to crime and anti-social behaviour.

BPR Leiria JFC has received a grant of £1,736 from David Keane’s Safer Communities Fund to run football sessions for under 14s and under 16s in the Runcorn area.

The club was set up in 2002 by a local family to give young people something positive to focus on at an age when alcohol, drugs gangs and crime can easily take over their lives.

It was the first junior football club in Cheshire to gain Football Association accreditation back in 2004 and since then, it’s been providing regular coaching from FA qualified coaches.

Julie Cole from the club said: “A lot of the young people that take part are from single parent or unemployed families. We do not want any child missing out on football because of their financial background so it’s great to be able to provide free sessions thanks to funding such as the grant we’ve received from the police and crime commissioner.

“The club’s not all about football. We also offer healthy eating and fitness advice and development opportunities such as encouraging young people to become a coach or referee. We have had several of our players go on to trials and contracts for professional clubs.

“With all participants in the club, we encourage them to respect others and follow a strict code of conduct. This keeps them focused and off the streets which helps the whole community.”

PCC David Keane added: “BPR Leiria carries out fantastic work in the local community to ensure young people are supported and have a positive focus for their attention.

“Projects like this are what my Safer Communities Fund is about; empowering local people to make their communities safer places to live.

“By taking part in diversionary sports activities, young people will not only improve their fitness but will also engage more with their local communities and have a reduced risk of becoming involved in crime.”

BPR Leiria JFC is one of 22 projects across Cheshire which has recently received Safer Communities Funding to support crime prevention or meet the objectives within the commissioner’s police and crime plan.