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Staffordshire Freemasons Support Disadvantaged Youth



Over 300 local disadvantaged young people will have the opportunity to turn their lives around thanks to a grant from Staffordshire Freemasons to Sport 4 Life UK.

The £60,000 grant will help fund the 'Step Together' service and support the employment of Youth Engagement Officers (YEOs). These officers will directly benefit 350 children and young people, with an estimated 5,000 indirect beneficiaries through safer school routes and community engagement.

This project's heart is deploying six YEOs across three school routes in Sandwell, identified as areas most vulnerable to youth antisocial behaviour and crime. These dedicated officers will play a dual role: serving as a deterrent to negative behaviours and providing support and information to ensure young people's safety and wellbeing. In addition to on-the-street engagement, Sport 4 Life UK will extend its reach within local schools, mentoring those most at risk and organising community sports sessions to channel energies into positive, constructive activities.

This initiative is underpinned by compelling evidence of need, including a striking statistic from the West Midlands Combined Authority that 43 per cent of its population resides within England's top 10 per cent of deprived areas. With serious youth violence on the rise, the urgency for targeted, effective interventions has never been greater. The project's credibility is further bolstered by endorsements from key stakeholders, including the West Midlands Police Violence Reduction Partnership and a local school, attesting to Sport 4 Life UK's proven track record in improving behaviour, educational attainment, and confidence among youth, where 78 per cent of students have demonstrated a significant improvement in their life skills.

Sport 4 Life UK, a leading charity dedicated to delivering sports-themed personal development services to support young people's journey through education and employment, is thrilled to announce the continuation of its impactful 'Step Together' service in the West Midlands. Aimed at supporting disadvantaged youth, including those at risk of unemployment or not in education, employment, or training (NEET), this initiative marks a significant stride towards fostering safer, more engaged communities.

Sport 4 Life UK is committed to sustaining and expanding its efforts to monitor and enhance academic engagement and attainment in close collaboration with local schools and law enforcement. This approach aims to curb crime and antisocial behaviour and lay the groundwork for brighter futures through education and sports.

The grant from Staffordshire Freemasons comes through the Masonic Charitable Foundation, which is funded by Freemasons, their families, and their friends from across England, Wales, and the Channel Islands.
Matt Dandy, Mentoring Services Manager at Sport 4 Life:

"Thanks to the generous support of Staffordshire Freemasons, we're able to provide much-needed support to disadvantaged children in the local area. The 'Step Together' project offers both hope and safety through targeted interventions and by channelling energy into positive activities that will ensure that young people in Sandwell will have the best opportunities in life."

John Lockley, Head of Staffordshire Freemasons, said:

"I'm very pleased we've been able to help Sport 4 Life UK and support the essential work they are doing in our community. Serious youth violence can have a detrimental impact on the wellbeing of not just the young people directly involved but also in an indirect manner to those around them. This charity are taking on a critical role in engaging with disadvantaged young people."

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