Police in Bradford are hoping deaf children will get a kick out of their latest project.
PC Jo Armstrong from the Bradford City Area Neighbourhood Team has teamed up with Sam Allen from the deaf community to launch futsal schemes for deaf youths to improve engagement between themselves and the police.
Futsal is a version of five-a-side football and is played with a smaller, brighter and softer ball than the traditional game. Funding for the project was obtained from the lottery-funded scheme West Yorkshire Sportivate, which gives people aged 11 to 25 who are interested in sport the chance to experience it through a short programme of coaching.
The first eight-week scheme was launched at the Prism Youth Project in Girlington last week with PCSO Josh Wilson. A similar one is due to start at Hanson School Academy in Bradford next month.
Police and Crime Commissioner for West Yorkshire, Mark Burns-Williamson, is due to visit the Prism Project this week to see for himself how the scheme is working.
PC Armstrong, said: “Similar futsal schemes have been successful with deaf children in Leeds, so we thought we’d bring the game to Bradford. It can be played by as many as 12 people at one time, with rolling substitutions, so it’s a fun game for anyone to learn.
“We hope the teenagers and the children will enjoy taking part in the sport, and that it will help to break down any barriers there might be between themselves and the police.”
Mark Burns-Williamson, West Yorkshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner said: “I am looking forward to visiting the scheme. Sports such as futsal are a great way to promote community cohesion and increase self-esteem, confidence and motivation.
“Futsal is an inclusive sport which builds on a lot of the skills behind football, with several ex-players moving on to careers as professional footballers. Participation in the scheme is free and I would urge young people from the deaf community to try it.”