Underground car park set to become home for new sports project to tackle anti-social behaviour

StreetGames is being launched in Peterlee's underground car park.
StreetGames is being launched in Peterlee's underground car park.

Youngsters are being encouraged to take to the streets - to join a new sports project.

Peterlee is launching a StreetGames programme aimed at giving young people in the town something interesting to do.

Peterlee PCSO Michelle Barr.

Peterlee PCSO Michelle Barr.

Residents have regularly complained about large groups of teenagers hanging around the town centre with high levels of anti-social behaviour.

In a bid to combat this, several organisations have come together to launch a StreetGames initiative, which will be held on Tuesday evenings in the underground car park at Asda.

Peterlee PCSO Michelle Burr said the introduction of a youth club on Thursday and Friday evenings has had a big positive impact on the problem and it is hoped the StreetGames will be as much of a success.

The charity StreetGames uses sport to create positive change in the lives of disadvantaged young people across the UK and is supporting the launch of the Peterlee project.

This is about intervention, putting something positive in place

PCSO Michelle Burr

It’s work helps to make young people and their communities healthier, safer and more successful.

In East Durham, as well as the police, partners also include Adsa, Peterlee Town Council, Groundwork North East and Cumbria, Castle Dene Shopping Centre and McDonald’s, which will be providing food and drink vouchers to all the young people taking part.

Michelle, of Durham Constabulary, said: “The young people do gather at the town centre, it is heat, light and wi-fi which is the draw for them.”

She said they do cause a nuisance with anti-social behaviour, such as shouting at people and members of the public feeling intimidated by large groups of youths.

The underground car park at Asda in Peterlee.

The underground car park at Asda in Peterlee.

But, Michelle added: “This is about intervention, putting something positive in place for them.”

The scheme, for 10 to 16-year-olds launches on Tuesday, February 5, from 7pm to 8pm, and members of StreetGames will be going along to give advice and ideas on games.

Michelle said: “We have had a little bit of training, but what we really want is for this to be very much led by the young people themselves.”

She said with support and training the older children will be acting as sport activators, encourging and coaching the others.

The project has had a good reaction from the public and Michelle is hoping a lot of young people will go along and join in the fun.

Games can include a huge range of activities, such as street rugby, tennis, dodgeball, dance, rounders and football.