Wasps throw their support behind safeguarding campaign for young people in Coventry & Warwickshire

Community coaches from the rugby club are teaming up with the West Midlands Counter Terrorism Unit and the Positive Youth Foundation (PYF), to deliver the Our Families, Our Future sessions at Sidney Stringer Academy and Hereward College every Friday between 6pm and 8pm.

Our Families, Our Future is aimed at supporting teenagers and young adults to overcome issues such as extremism, drugs and domestic violence. Various organisations are invited to the events to lay on activities and provide advice to visitors.

Wasps’ community coaches have been supporting the events – which have attracted around 500 people so far – by laying on skills workshops such as passing and tackling, as well as promoting the core values of the sport which cover respect, enjoyment, teamwork, discipline and sportsmanship. 

Such is the popularity of the events, that plans are afoot to expand the initiative to Coventry University and Solihull College later this year.

PC Ian Powell is a Prevent Officer at the West Midlands Counter Terrorism Unit, and says sessions such as Our Families, Our Future are important outlets to help people tackle individual issues.

He said: “Knowing an individual’s background, circumstances and interests is an important part of our efforts to steer them down the right path by integrating them into activities that they enjoy.

“Our Families, Our Future is one of the places we can drive people to so they can take part in sport, look at developing their education and employability, and take inspiration from other people who have been through difficult times and come out the other side.

“Wasps’ community team have been brilliant at supporting this event with their own sporting expertise, and we’re hoping it will inspire other organisations from a variety of sectors to contribute as well.” 

Ben Avent is one of the community development officers at Wasps that has helped the club to reach more than 65,000 people over the past year, and is supporting the Our Families, Our Future programme.

He added: “We know first-hand from our outreach across the West Midlands that rugby can be used in a variety of different ways to make a positive change in the community, and we’ve been delighted with the levels of engagement we are getting on a weekly basis at the Our Families, Our Future sessions.

“We’ve introduced hundreds of people from different walks of life to the sport, and more importantly, we are starting to see the same regular faces week after week.”