Councillors follow Freddie Flintoff’s Field of Dreams blueprint to stop Northampton kids turning to crime

Government cash earmarked for “diverting youngsters into something more positive”

Tuesday, 26th July 2022, 11:20 am
Updated Tuesday, 26th July 2022, 12:13 pm

Councillors plan to use a ‘Field of Dreams’ team sports campaign as the catalyst to stop kids turning to crime on two Northampton estates.

Bellinge and Blackthorn will see £99,000 out of a total of £1.5 million awarded for projects across Northamptonshire from the Government’s Safer Streets Fund.

West Northamptonshire Council, which applied for the cash, says it wants to improve lighting, introduce more CCTV and create activities to divert young people away from criminal activity.

Freddie Flintoff inspired a bunch of Preston teens to play cricket on BBC's Field of Dreams — now Councillor David Smith says team sports can help keep kids away from crime on Northampton estates

Earlier this month, millions watched cricket legend Freddie Flintoff inspire an unlikely bunch of teenagers from his home town Preston into taking up the sport in a heartwarming BBC reality show.

Councillor David Smith, cabinet member for community safety and engagement said: “The money we’ve been awarded will go toward tackling specific issues in Bellinge and Blackthorn, on the eastern side of Northampton, where there are high levels of antisocial behaviour and violent crime.

“In particular, we want to do what we can to begin diverting young people from this kind of activity into something more positive and we’ll be using team sports as the catalyst.”

Plans are also in place to gate alleyways to prevent them being used as areas for antisocial behaviour, drug dealing and violent crime.

Northampton town centre’s night-time economy will also benefit from improvements as part of a £460,000 pledge by the Police, Fire & Crime Commissioner.

Stephen Mold was awarded nearly £1.2 million from the Safer Streets Fund for crime-fighting — more than half of which will be spent crime-fighting in Wellingborough’s Queensway estate.

■ Creating a night safety charter

■ Increasing safety of pedestrians in Bridge Street, Northampton

■ Extra lighting and blocking alleyways

■ ID scan technology for around 30 venues.

Additionally, a ground-breaking partnership will see ‘Stand by Her’ training for young men in education to help them understand the impact of harassment on women.

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A second Safer Nights Out van will be provided for the north of the county, duplicating the ‘SNOvan’ which parks in Northampton town centre on Friday and Saturday nights, staffed by volunteer street pastors to support anyone who finds themselves vulnerable.