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CAMPAIGN TO KEEP KIDS OFF DRUGS AND AWAY FROM CRIME

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Premiership soccer stars and a former Olympic gold medallist teamed ...
Premiership soccer stars and a former Olympic gold medallist teamed

up with Home Office minister Lord Falconer today as he kicked off a new phase of a

campaign to keep kids off drugs and away from a life of crime.

Positive Futures, a nation-wide scheme, which has been running since

2000 and has so far helped over 25,000 10 - 19 year olds, gets

vulnerable young people involved in sport and on track to a brighter

future.

The minister was joined at Arsenal Football Club by Dion Dublin,

Carlton Cole and Tessa Sanderson to announce the locations of

37 new projects throughout the country which will be supported by a

cash boost of £18m.

Speaking at Highbury Lord Falconer said:

'Getting and keeping young people away from drugs is the highest

priority of the government's drug strategy.

'Positive Futures is making a real difference to the lives of

thousands of vulnerable young people in some of our most deprived

communities and we, and the Football Foundation, are extending that

valuable help to 37 more communities.

'Through sport and team activities Positive Futures engages directly

with young people building their self-esteem, increasing their skills

and helping them learn to relate better to others. Right now more

than 7,000 people are involved in its projects - that's 7,000 young

people away from the streets and getting their lives on the right

track.

'This initiative is only one of many in the government's drug

strategy to engage young people. We recently launched the

ground-breaking Frank campaign to give young people and their parents

advice about drug use.

'It is essential that we support vulnerable young people at an early

stage, before they get involved in drugs and their problems escalate.

Schemes such as this can help prevent another generation of young

people becoming drug addicts and criminals, and help prevent drugs

and crime tearing apart families and communities.'

Dion Dublin said:

'Positive Futures is an innovative and exciting way of using sport to

support vulnerable young people and help them make the most of their

lives. I am delighted that the additional £3m investment from

the Football Foundation will ensure that football continues to make a

valuable contribution.'

Arsenal chairman, Peter Hill Wood said:

'The club is delighted to be involved in the Positive Futures

initiative as much of our community work focuses upon encouraging the

social inclusion of local youngsters through sport and education. By

working in tandem with the other partners involved in Positive

Futures, we aim to actively engage youths involved in drugs and

crime, in the hope that it will reduce youth offending and misuse of

drugs as a result.'

Positive Futures works with children and families in deprived

neighbourhoods to steer them away from drugs and crime by getting

them involved in sport and physical activity. The focus of some of

the new projects will be on the communities worst hit by drug-related

crime. They will pay particular attention to building links to

education, training and employment programmes for 16-19-year-olds.

An evaluation showing the success of its existing projects and a

three-year strategy to ensure it continues to help as many children,

families and communities as possible was also published today.

The evaluation shows that Positive Futures makes a valuable

contribution to re-building communities and helping vulnerable young

people. It finds that through sport young people improve

relationships with each other and adults; they raised their

aspirations; improved their skills and reduced drug use, crime and

anti-social behaviour.

Notes

1. Positive Futures is a government initiative managed within the

Home Office drugs strategy directorate. The advisory group consists

of representatives from the Department of Health, Department of

Cult ure Media and Sport, the Connexions Service (DfES), Sport

England, Youth Justice Board and Football Foundation. There are

currently 67 local projects operating in neighbourhoods across

England and Wales, all falling within the top 20% as identified

through the multiple deprivation indexes. The programmes are

delivered by a range of agencies including local authorities,

charities, sports clubs and crime reduction agencies and are

currently targeted at the 10-16 age range. Positive Futures aims to:

- reduce drug use;

- increase interest in sport and physical activity; and

- reduce youth offending.

2. The new projects will be introduced in:

Aston Bexley Blyth Valley

Bradford North Brent Camden

Central Bristol Chester le Street Colchester

Corby Dartford Doncaster

Ealing Gloucester Great Yarmouth

Hammersmith Islington Killingbeck

Lancashire Leicester Lewisham

Millgarth Newham North Derby

North Liverpool North Manchester Penzance

Sheffield South Manchester South Tyneside

Southend Sparkbrook / Sparkhill Stockton

Swindon Tower Hamlets Wandsworth

Wednesbury

3. The government has made £15m available as part of the

SR2002 package which was announced in December. The allocation of the

money to Positive Futures was announced by Bob Ainsworth, Home Office

minister with responsibility for the government's drug strategy, on 3

February 2003 as part of a funding announcement for young people's

drug services. The Football Foundation have contributed £3m over the

next three years, and Sport England have contributed £0.4m to help

fund the existing projects.

4. Frank was launched on May 23 and is jointly funded by the Home

Office and Department of Health and supported by the Department for

Education. To talk to Frank call 0800 77 66 00 or click here.

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