SPORTING stars from Sheffield are helping to steer youngsters away from gangs and crime - by urging them to take up physical activity instead.
City-born former football referee Uriah Rennie, Sheffield’s own former world champion boxer Johnny Nelson, and legendary Wincobank boxing trainer Brendan Ingle all helped launch a new campaign at the English Institute of Sport in Attercliffe using sport to divert young people away from crime.
It is hoped reducing boredom among youngsters will in turn reduce the number tempted to become embroiled in city gangs and the drugs and violence associated with them.
Andy Peaden, from Sheffield Council Youth Offending Service, said: “One of our aims is to work with young people to encourage them to find a sport that they are interested in. We are also working with organisations such as the English Institute of Sport so young people can have free taster sessions in various sports.”
The campaign is to run initially in Burngreave, where the Amateur Boxing Association of England has agreed to provide 10 free training sessions.
Ronnie Tucker, a team manager for Sheffield Youth Offending Service, who helped devise the campaign, said: “We are trying to find different ways of diverting young people away from crime and one of the ways which has proved successful in the past has been sport.
“This campaign, Sport Not Crime, is about making young people aware of the range of sports and clubs available for them.
“The idea of using stars including Johnny Nelson and Uriah Rennie is to give the young people role models to look up to. People often drift into crime and gangs through boredom so this is all about channelling their energies into something positive, and getting them interested in sport at an early age.”