Sheffield Wednesday Community Programme have been tackling crime around young people in the Sheffield area. Winn Gardens is a small neighbourhood that resides in the ward of Hillsborough within Sheffield.

Since September 2017, there has been well over 200 crime reports within a 1-mile radius of the estate – this mainly consisting of anti-social behaviour and violence/sexual crimes (over 50% between the two), with criminal damage and burglary taking up approx. 25% of crime.

The extend of crime and dense population means SWFCCP regard it as a high priority area. The Team is currently working in the area to engage with the young people in the hopes to reduce crime and anti-social behaviour, making Winn Gardens a safe environment for young people to live and play in.

Already since the start of September, the Sheffield Wednesday Community Team have engaged with over 50 young people, ageing from 8-19 years of age, providing multi-sport and football activities for the residents.

Whilst working with, and building relationships with attendees, the Sheffield Wednesday Community Team are focusing on improving relevant anti-social behaviours and general crime.

Paul Hebda, the current PL KICKS Coordinator has been working in the area since June says:

“Already in the 4 or so months of working in the area, I have seen a massive behavioural change in the young people, especially the older ones.

The majority of young people that attend are at the younger end of the age range, and the older young people could easily take advantage of this. However, we have given the older young people more of a leadership type role of the session, and they love the responsibilities.

At first, younger children seemed slightly reluctant and intimidated by the older young people, but since giving the older ones more responsibilities and acting more of a role model, the younger children love the session, and are now happy for the older young people to join in.”

Above: Some of the young people that attend the Winn Gardens session over the summer 2017

Many of the young people that attend and live in the neighbourhood also attend the Youth Club, which runs from the Sheffield Wednesday Hillsborough Stadium on a Tuesday evening 6pm – 8pm.

Young people can come along for a small charge of 50p, and take part in various multi-sport activities and arts & crafts.

It is a place for friends to come together and ‘chill out’ in a safe environment whilst working with staff around different topics such as healthy eating, anti-social behaviour, other criminal crimes and many other workshops.

Above and below: Some of the young people that attend the Youth Club playing a game of dodgeball

The Community Programme are looking into providing additional sessions during the week due to the demand for more activities by the young people of Winn Gardens.

Overall, since starting to work in the area, the staff have seen a massive change in the young people’s behaviour and confidence.

Their skills are also growing considerably, with some of the young people even been sign-posted to the SWFC Development Team.

The SWFC Community Team will continue to work with the young people and on the Winn Gardens Neighbourhood, looking at crime statistics later on into 2018, in the hopes that they will have overall dropped, and that the community keeps building and coming closer together.

For more information on the PL Kicks Youth Club and other Premier League Projects, click here.