Birmingham police kick start their football league back on the pitch after six months online
The Birmingham City Community Trust and Safe Haven Team football league kick started back into action last night (Thursday 10 Sept) after six months of online tournaments.
The league was set up as part of the Safe Haven project 11 years ago to build bridges with teenagers and young adults, and to help steer them away from crime and anti-social behaviour.
The team took the league to an online FIFA tournament during the CoVID-19 lockdown. Since the easing of restrictions, officers have worked with Birmingham City Community Trust to safely bring football home.
Following a few trial runs to ensure they are CoVID secure, the football league had their first touch back on the pitch with two sessions of 20 people.
PC David Steadman from Safe Haven team, said: “It’s amazing to see everyone back on the pitch again after a long few months.
“We have managed to maintain our relationship with these young people throughout lockdown, but to have everyone back again in person and so eager to play again really is inspiring.
“For many of our young people, this really is a safety net for them, a place they can come every week, get support from team mates and let off some steam- so it was really vital we could get back up and running as soon as possible.
“Obviously, like everything else right now, the setup is a little different, everyone’s safety is our priority. All sessions are FA approved and we are following the CoVID Secure Delivery guidance.
“We have over 200 people signed up for this league, so we are really excited for the months ahead.”
Safe Haven now has bases in schools across Birmingham working with foundations such as Aston Villa Community Trust and Birmingham City Community Trust.
PC Steadman and PC Rob Felton regularly engage with nearly 200 young people aged 11 to 25-years-old. Many of the members were referred from local neighbourhood teams or partner agencies or identified by school as ‘at risk’ young people.