Novus has partnered with Levelling the Playing Field to offer children sport and physical activity opportunities in custody and after their release.
The partnership will see specially selected, trained and experienced sports organisations work with children in the three young offender institutions Novus deliver in - HMYOI Cookham Wood, HMYOI Werrington and HMYOI Wetherby.
They will offer coaching and support that is learner-centred (i.e. based on young people’s feedback on the types of sport and activities they want to take part in). On release, young people will then be linked up with Levelling the Playing Field sessions in their area and/or be able to attend sessions run by the same trusted sport providers externally that they worked with whilst in custody.
This through-the-gate support will play an important part in young people’s resettlement back into the community, giving them access to sport and physical activity, mentoring support, helping to divert them from negative peer influences and enabling them to form (or continue) relationships with trusted adult role models.
Sports Connect will deliver the programme in HMYOI Cookham Wood and Climb Unity will be the partner in HMYOI Wetherby. The partner for HMYOI Werrington will be confirmed shortly. You can read more about the new partnership with Climb Unity and the British Mountaineering Council at HMYOI Wetherby here.
As well as its many benefits for young people, the partnership has already had a positive impact on the partners themselves.
“The project has fostered collaboration between education, gym and healthcare departments of the different secure establishments who are involved,” said Novus Sport and Enrichment Coordinator, James Thomas. “They have all started sharing best practice and discussing what works and what doesn’t which is extremely positive.
“The community links provided by Levelling the Playing Field across the country are amazing for us. Setting up community resettlement plans is often difficult when young people are leaving one prison and returning to a different area of the country. With access to Levelling the Playing Field’s network, that job becomes much easier.
“It also enables us to incorporate young people’s passions around sport and physical activity into their resettlement plans. We can start to look more carefully at linking them up with community clubs and organisations alongside education and employment opportunities, to give them a more holistic package of support which decreases the likelihood of reoffending. Put that together with the training and mentoring opportunities that Levelling the Playing Field provide and this partnership is rich with potential. We are looking forward to developing the relationship in the future and to the many benefits it will offer our learners in the Secure Estate and post-release.”
Steve Byrne, Director of Youth Justice at Novus said: “The partnership to support children in custody with Levelling the Playing Field and its partners has had an immediate impact for children within custody. This collaborative approach is not only enhancing the onsite delivery for children but also bridging a gap in the community. In supporting the transition back to the community these partnerships can make a real difference to reducing reoffending and supporting the child to make a valuable contribution to their communities.”