How a scheme aimed at increasing leisure activities is hoping to cut antisocial behaviour in Hartlepool

The team behind a new scheme looking to increase leisure and family activities in Hartlepool is hoping it will also cut antisocial behaviour and get more people physically active.

Tuesday, 1st October 2019, 5:45 pm
Stock picture c/o Pixabay

Council bosses said they received £280,000 from Sport England, along with around £85,000 from external partnership funding, to run its ‘Family Time’ scheme.

It involves providing activities for families in the town, and follows a pilot scheme focusing on antisocial behaviour among youths in Seaton over the summer, branded a success by councillors.

The ‘Family Time’ scheme launched in April this year and aims to engage 350 families over the next four years, providing them with opportunities to take part in activities.

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Dan Garthwaite, participation and strategy manager for the council, explained to Hartlepool North and Coastal Community Forum how the scheme works.

He said: “The aim is to prompt families to think about their lifestyles and behaviours and encourage them to be responsible for making changes that will help their health and wellbeing.

“One of the main things with this is not to create dependencies but actually empower people and give them the relative level of support required to enable them to do activities long term.

“We want to make sure we’re not missing anyone out. We’re trying to make sure it’s accessible for all.

“There are some families that have never been out of Hartlepool so it’s how can we give them different experiences.”

Activities taken place so far include sessions in community hubs and some families have been taken to Carlton for a residential weekend.

It follows on from a pilot focusing on the impact of participation in activities in Seaton over the summer, targeting areas where children had been involved in antisocial behaviour.

Sessions took place on a Wednesday evening for a six week period between July and August with a total of 140 attendees.

They focused on ‘informal’ activities and giving those there the choice of what to do, and featured sessions such as football.

Coun Sue Little said: “It was so nice to see a group of youths that we were targeting actually get a football and go to the end of the field.

“It was really good, the kids that interacted with us every week, they loved it, and it was free.”

Councillors also urged the need to create somewhere easily viewable which documents activities for families and children to take part in.

Coun Leisa Smith said: “Youngsters now don’t want to go to the traditional places, they want something new, activities like this are catered more towards what youths want of today.

“We should have one port of call where if someone is interested in a group for their child, they should be able to go on to one point of access.”