A group of service users on probation supervision are taking part in a pilot project with Aston Villa and Birmingham City Football Club, aimed at reducing the risk of reoffending by engaging with sport coaching sessions.
The nine participants, being supervised by Staffordshire and West Midlands Community Rehabilitation Company (SWM CRC), and the National Probation Service, are receiving tuition through the Twinning Project which is managed by Birmingham City Community Trust with the support of the two football clubs.
The pilot involves the service users attending sessions for six weeks at a designated club stadium. At the end of the course the successful participants will have achieved a Football Association’s Level 1 qualification in Football Coaching.
SWM CRC is owned by the Reducing Reoffending Partnership, part of Ingeus UK.
This is the first time that the project has been offered to individuals on a community order or on a post-custody licence. In the past the coaching initiative has only been run with prisoners in custody.
The project and the participants’ subsequent behaviour and lifestyle choices will be studied by a research team at Oxford University.
Birmingham City FC have also organised for the participants to be filmed by a crew from Blues TV, their internet TV channel: https://www.bcfc.com/blues-tv/
Former Birmingham City FC player, Paul Peschisolido, staged a Q&A session for the training group and suggested ways to apply their newly acquired skills and levels of confidence.
“Each person has been carefully selected,” said Matt Britton, Skills and Employability Manager with SWM CRC.
“All the participants have successfully engaged with their probation supervision; made positive progress and are determined to change their former behaviour.
“The research team will collate information to provide case studies and reliable statistics which will hopefully prove that taking part in social activities and improving skills, including overcoming challenges and learning about teamwork, can support desistance from crime and are useful abilities to highlight to future employers.”