World Cup hope

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HARTLEPOOL teenagers are being urged to take advantage of a trip of a lifetime to the World Cup finals in Brazil this summer by taking part in an innovative programme.

Michael Richardson, 16, is the first of six teenagers to be picked for the dream 10-day trip to South America after graduating from the Street League course run in Hartlepool from the Belle Vue Community Sports and Youth Centre, in Kendal Road.

But five other places are still up for grabs for the trip, which would include tickets to watch one of the World Cup semi-final matches, and youngsters need to sign up to the next sessions.

Street League, which is the only UK-based organisation and one of four from across Europe taking part, works with those who are not in employment, education and training (NEET), including young offenders and substance misusers and the young people take part in a range of activities to build their employability.

The Street League academy sessions are held at Belle Vue Community Sports and Youth Centre, in Kendal Road, and The Southlands Centre, in Middlesbrough and will relaunch on Monday, February 4, for eight weeks.

The aim of the intensive eight-week programme is to develop vital employability skills such as communication, teamwork and goal-setting and it also offers nationally-recognised qualifications.

Dean Cartwright, Tees Valley operations manager in Hartlepool, said: “We also want to reiterate that we still need three girls for the trip and have only had a couple of ladies expressing an interest so far.

“Any interested parties need to contact either Andy Gray on 07584706889 or Adam Gell on 07814626004.”

The Brazil opportunity came about after Street League was invited to take part in the FIFA-backed Football for Hope Festival, a football tournament involving 32 similar organisations from around the world using football for social development.