A former-semi proffesional footballer turned PCSO has launched her own football team for youngsters in the Kingsthorpe area.
PCSO Rachael Barber kicked off the St David’s Football Project with grant funding from the police and crime commissioner Stephen Mold and financial backing from local businesses.
The officer is setting-up the project to fill what she says is a gap in youth provision for young people aged between 12 and 17 in the St David’s area.
There have already been some expressions of interest and PCSO Barber hopes the group will grow quite quickly to include between 35 and 40 young people.
As a former semi-professional footballer, she also intends the project to help young people develop skills of discipline, fair play and teamwork as well as giving them a fun
and activity on their doorstep.
She said: “Businesses and organisations have come together to show their commitment to St David’s and the people who live there.
"I believe this is a great way to give local young people a sense of achievement and aspiration and it is a serious opportunity for them to enjoy not only some
healthy competition, but discipline and responsibility.
“I’m grateful to everyone who has supported this project and enabled me to get it off the ground. I hope this will grow so that St David’s is able to compete against other football
teams and attracts a following from local residents.”
A trophy has been donated by Timpson’s store at Weston Favell that will be known as the ‘St David’s Community Shield’ and given to tournament winners.
PCSO Barber also hopes the involvement of local businesses in the scheme will discourage loitering and anti-social behaviour at their premises.
Stephen Mold, Northamptonshire Police and Crime Commissioner said: “I had the privilege of going on patrol with Rachael recently and I was bowled over by how well she knows her
patch and her involvement with local people.
“One of the things that people told us was that there was very little for young people to do in the area. I support Rachael’s plan to create some positive activities and a sense of belonging
so that they don’t get drawn into anti-social or criminal behaviour or even gangs.
"Rachael has inspired me to think about how I can support other police officers and staff who may want to implement similar schemes to help the communities they serve.”
Councillor Jane Birch (Lab, Kingsthorpe South) said: “It was a great opportunity to be at the launch with Cllr Naz Choudray (St Davids Labour) and see these first steps at providing something for young people in the area.
"I wish to express my thanks to PCSO Rachel Barber and the businesses that have made this possible with donations of equipment and time. I look forward to seeing this team win loads of tournaments.”