Selby's Midnight Soccer League.
11:39am 15th February 2013
Today sees the launch of Selby's very own Midnight Soccer League.
Based at Selby's Fire Station Recreation Ground on Canal Street, the supervised sessions will see a special five-a-side 'cage' constructed that will give young people aged between 14 and 19 the chance to show off their skills.
The two-hour session, which starts at 7pm, is based on a successful formula that has been brought to Selby by the district's cultural and leisure services partner WLCT (Wigan Leisure and Culture Trust). It will allow young people the chance to enjoy physical activity and socialise in safety.
The sessions have been organised through a partnership with Selby District Council, WLCT's Sports Development Unit and Youth Service together with Selby Fire Station and York City Football Club.
Selby Sports Development Officer Robin Bedford says: "Since the fire at the Abbey Leisure Centre young people really haven't had a venue for this type of activity, so we're really excited about it.
"It will be a relaxed kick about session under the floodlights and it will be overseen by the coaches from York City. There will be eight initial sessions after which we will plan more based on their success. They are completely free to the young people taking part and are open to both girls and boys."
Robin adds: "We will also have a room available for the young people to relax. We'll also be putting on some indoor activities for anyone who doesn't fancy a go at the football."
The project takes its name from Midnight Basketball - an American initiative introduced to curb inner-city crime by giving youngsters an opportunity to become involved in constructive pursuits.
A similar scheme launched by WLCT in Wigan Borough has been successful. It has seen an initial handful of young people taking part grow to more than 250 turning up to play each Friday night. So popular has the Wigan scheme been that it now has its own league competition supported by Wigan Athletic Football Club and the Premiership.
Selby District Council's Deputy Leader and Executive Member for Partnerships, Cllr Gillian Ivey will be on hand to officially launch the session and watch the kids in action.
She says: "We're delighted to be giving the young people of Selby this chance to enjoy a game they love in a safe and supported environment. Even if they are not playing they can come along and watch, cheer on their friends and take part in some of the other activities.
"By providing the young people with something to do, we are hoping to give them a real alternative to hanging around the streets on a Friday night, which in turn may help us to address some issues of anti-social behaviour.
"The sessions are a great example of how Selby District Council is working in partnership with other organisations.
"They will teach the young people about team work and leadership, being a good sport and socialising. They will also help to improve the young people's confidence, self-esteem and overall fitness."
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