A youth project which has reduced anti-social behaviour on Hanworth’s Butts Farm estate has been praised by police.
The Urban Academy scheme gives young people aged seven to 21 the chance to develop skills and confidence through sport and other activities.
More than 150 youngsters from a variety of ethnic backgrounds attend the weekly sessions, which are held at four venues at the Butts Farm and Hounslow Heath estates and in Richmond.
Sergeant Jackie Green, of Hanworth Safer Neighbourhoods Team, said: “Thanks to the Urban Academy sessions on Butts Farm there has been a marked improvement in anti-social behaviour levels in the area. There are not gangs of kids wandering around like there used to be.”
Urban Academy, which was set up in 2004 in partnership with Brentford FC Community Sports Trust, is run by Richmond Housing Partnership, which owns and manages around 800 properties on the Butts Farm estate.
Project manager Bertie Morse believes the social inclusion coaching programme is also helping to change the lives of the young people who take part by helping them develop new skills and gain confidence.
He said: “There is nothing more uplifting than seeing young people’s motivation and behaviour improve as a result of these sessions.
“The activities we provide are a great way for young people to make new friends, keep fit, and relieve the boredom that can lead to anti-social behaviour.”
The coaching sessions include football, street and break dance, DJing and music production, as well as a weekly youth club. The scheme also offers opportunities for anyone looking to volunteer and for those aged 16 or over, there is also the opportunity to gain qualifications for coaching that can lead to paid employment.
To find out more about the Urban Academy, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0203 1662349.