Published on 4th December 2013

football match

A football project aimed at engaging young people in St Pauls has proved to be a great success following a successful summer launch. The project now provides indoor facilities for the winter months.

Cheltenham Borough Council’s Sports Development Team are supporting Cheltenham Borough Homes to target young people in the area with the aim on engaging them in a football project to keep them active, healthy and off dark streets during the winter period.

Andy Wood, senior housing officer at Cheltenham Borough Homes had identified a clear need for sport provision following the housing regeneration of the St Pauls area. This led to a summer project being launched on the Agg Gardner pavilion, working in partnership with the Sports Development Team as part of the Cheltenham Street Games programme.

After the popularity of the sessions, with up to 25 young people aged 11-15 attending, the project has now introduced an indoor session at the leisure@ cricket hall. This is to bring the young people off the streets and into a supervised and safe area. Here they can develop their skills and learn about competition, team work and discipline. Indoor sessions will run until February where if the weather improves, they will move to being held outside again.

Speaking on the success of the project, Andy Wood said: “The football sessions have been far more successful than we first thought. They were set up to provide a safe environment for the young people in the area to play football, have fun and participate in a physical activity. The sessions help the young people to develop friendships, learn how to work together as part of a team and are an important part of our community development activities in St Pauls, following the completion of the first part of the regeneration project earlier this year.”

“It is fantastic to link up with the Sports Development Team and their coaches, and will mean that we can keep delivering the sessions for the young residents of St Paul's for a much longer period of time. The enthusiasm, skill and energy of the participants is great to see every week.”

Tom Sparks is delighted with the way the project has evolved: "This project has been created from some really positive partnership working with Andy and his team of community officers at Cheltenham Borough Homes. We have been able to utilise our sports coaches and leader’s expertise to give the local youngsters a real quality football experience and encourage them to take up the game and perhaps even that next step into a local club.”

“It's been a real joy to see the enthusiasm shown towards the sessions, from not only the participants but the coaches as well. We have been able to add some real value to the project through our Street Games programme and I'm delighted that we can keep it running through winter with the hope of sustaining the provision over a longer period."

Press contact: Tom Wheatly, web and communications apprentice, telephone 01242 775192 email: [email protected]


• Participants range from 11-15 years old and sessions run every Tuesday from 4.00 - 5.00pm in leisure@cheltenham's cricket hall.