The Trent Bridge Community Trust has launched a second incarnation of the much heralded Positive Futures Scheme.
The roll-out in Hawtonville will see a new drive to engage young people deemed at risk of social exclusion with a three-year commitment to the town.
“We want to be known as an organisation that can affect change in challenging circumstances and local authorities have recognised that we are by supporting us in delivering these schemes,” said Tracey Francis, the Club’s Head of Community Sport.
“Our mission is to maintain exceptional community programmes for the benefit of young people in need of opportunities.”
The programme targets 8-19 year olds although further down the line there will be an aim to integrate Hawtonville’s sizable travelling community.
Mandy Wright, the recently appointed Project Co-Ordinator, has been working in the heart of the community in order to familiarise herself with the area with an aim to unite the partners that will deliver the scheme.
“There are already a number of projects in place to engage young people but there are some gaps in the provision and that’s what we want to address,” said Mandy.
“The Positive Futures method is tried and tested so we can hit the ground running but some of the external factors are markedly different here so we will need to continually adapt.
“The Cotgrave scheme continues to produce great results and the statistical evidence of a downturn in youth crime was a great endorsement for our work.
Mark Clifford, the former professional footballer who has led the Cotgrave scheme since 2008, has been praised for the manner in which he has helped to raise the aspirations of young people in the town.
“Local authorities have saved around half a million pounds due to decreased crime rates,” he said.
“Many people are surprised to hear that cricket has very little to do with the scheme but our mission in this particular project is to use the expertise of Club staff to engage young people and we’ve earned a reputation for doing that successfully.”
Whilst Mandy has lent on Mark for inspiration in the early stages, she has quickly learned that the young people themselves must take on leadership roles and influence the direction of the project if it is to prove successful in the long term.
“We have already been to look at potential apprentices to help with the scheme and we hope to have them in place very soon,” said Mandy.
“With the schemes that are already set up in the area it should make the start of the process run smoothly.
“The group of young people that will be focused on has already been chosen and the past few months have been used as a meet and greet opportunity with the partners in the area.”
If Hawtonville prospers in a similar manner to Cotgrave, the model could yet enjoy a more expansive rollout across the county.
“I like to think they want to keep seeing how I’m doing, and how my family are doing. They’ve been with me the whole way.”
Emily Gilbert – Positive Futures Scheme Member