REDDITCH Police have been working in partnership with the Lord’s Taverners, a UK cricket and disability sports charity, to give young people a sporting chance and have been nationally recognised in the process!
The Wicketz cricket initiative currently takes place in 19 locations across the UK including Redditch and provides a sporting outlet to help tackle the effects of disadvantage.
And its success took them to London for a special presentation by the Lord Taveners at Grosvenor House last week where they met cricket fans Chris Tarrant and Trevor MacDonald.
Redditch PCSO Anwar Mohammed (Mo) has been helping support the programme that is aimed primarily at eight to 16-year-olds.
One such success story was recently celebrated at an awards ceremony; sport has been instrumental in helping to change Anees Suleiman and his perspective on life.
It has provided him with skills and confidence with friends and now in the workplace and he was congratulated by celebrities and sporting greats along with PCSO Mo and Redditch Inspector Mark Chappell.
The initiative enables Redditch Police to engage with vulnerable young people and encourage them away from a potentially destructive path in life through the use of sport.
Participants may be struggling with a disruptive home life, acting as young carers, receiving free school meals or in danger of involvement in gang activity or ASB.
Whatever their background, Mo and a Worcestershire Cricket Board officer have been working with them for the Lord’s Taverners as cricket coaches and mentors to bring out the best in each young person, helping to enable WMP to build trust and improving relationships with the sometimes hard-to-reach ethnic minority youth community.
Sessions were held at Heart of Worcestershire College in Redditch and at Redditch Cricket Club on Bromsgrove Road.
Redditch PCSO Mohammed Anwaar said: “The Wicketz programme has been a great vehicle to support my job in every way.
“We have to look for ways to reach out to our communities in Redditch and tackle such issues as anti-social-behaviour.”
“We have a way to engage with these communities, and it is helping us to reduce the problems in Redditch without criminalising the young people.”
Insp Chappell added: “Anees is a great success story, of how sport can help to change a life and I am very proud and pleased to see him recognised along with the dedication to the scheme by Mohammed.”
Listen out for this week’s Podcast where PCSO will be sharing tips on staying safe this Christmas.