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The Police Service of Northern Ireland supports a range of projects within communities across Northern Ireland that have specific challenges. 

These projects aim to deter young people from becoming involved in criminality and assist in signposting them in how to make positive life choices.

They are part of a wider government programme designed to tackle all aspects of paramilitary activity, associated criminality and organised crime. Working in partnership with the Police Service of Northern Ireland, The Northern Ireland Executive’s Tackling Paramilitarism, Criminality and Organised Crime Programme supports people and communities across Northern Ireland who are vulnerable to paramilitary influence and harm. 

The Police Service work with a number of partners across Northern Ireland to deliver these projects to give young people the opportunity to come together, socialise and learn new skills. 

Every interaction between young people and Police will be an opportunity to have a meaningful conversation with the child and their family.

Why are these youth programmes needed?

We want to work with young people to help them be more resilient, achieve their potential, and reduce the opportunities that criminal gangs have to exploit them. These programmes are designed to help young people make positive life choices, and encourage engagement with local officers so we will be in a better position to both understand and support them.   

2022/2023 projects

  • Rangers Football Mentorship Programme

    Local officers from Macedon Neighbourhood Policing Team worked in partnership with Rangers Football Club to deliver the ‘Football Mentoring Programme’. Approximately 36 young people aged 11-17 years old from the local area, took part in this four-month cross community project from January-June 2023. Activities included a mixture of educational workshops delivered by our officers and other trained professionals and pitch sessions with Rangers players. The young people also took part in outdoor team building training as part of the initiative and had the opportunity to attend a Rangers match in Glasgow and a tour of Croke Park Stadium in Dublin.

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  • Football Mentorship Programme

    Local officers from Newtownards Neighbourhood Policing Teams worked in partnership with Rangers Football Club to deliver the ‘Football Mentoring Programme’. Approximately 45 young people aged 13-18 years old from the local area, took part in a 12-week programme from August-November 2022. Activities included a mixture of educational workshops delivered by our officers and other trained professionals and pitch sessions with Rangers players. The young people had the opportunity to attend a Rangers match in Glasgow.

    Ards and North Down Mentorship Programme (1)

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    North Down Family Support Project

    Approximately 50 young people aged 13-15 years old from Bangor Youth Club took part in a week long project in February 2022, alongside our local officers from Bangor Neighbourhood Policing Teams. They took part in a range of educational workshops as well as diversionary activities.  

  • Ballymac Summer Scheme

    The Ballymac Centre in East Belfast hosted a 17-week Summer Scheme from June-September 2022, for approximately 30 young people aged 11-18 years from the local area.  Local officers from East Belfast Neighbourhood Policing Teams worked in partnership with The Ballymac Centre and Young Initiative NI. The young people had the opportunity to take part in a range of engaging activities including wall climbing, airsoft and a trip to Lets Go Hydro. The scheme aimed to support those who may be vulnerable to involvement in antisocial behaviour, drug misuse, public order issues and influence from criminal groups.

    Football Mentorship programme

    Local officers from Belfast Neighbourhood Policing Teams worked in partnership with Rangers Football Club to deliver the ‘Football Mentoring Programme’. Approximately 36 young people aged 11-17 years old from the local area, took part in this 12-week cross community project from August-November 2022. Activities are a mixture of educational workshops delivered by our officers and other trained professionals and pitch sessions with Rangers players.

    West Belfast Football Mentorship Programme (1)

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    Ramp Yard - Extreme sports youth outreach programme

    Local officers from East Belfast Neighbourhood Policing Teams worked in partnership with The Ramp Yard to deliver an eight-week extreme sports programme from February-April 2022. Approximately 30 young people aged from 12-16 years old from the local area took part. Activities are a mixture of educational workshops delivered by our officers and engaging with young people who may be more vulnerable to criminal influences, through BMX, Skateboards, Scooters and Skating activities. The project was extended to run for a further 8 weeks due to its success from February-March 2023. The programme was further extended for another 13-week period from June-September 2023, now incorporating street art, international pro rider coaching sessions and closing competition. This initiative has generated significant community interest, meeting initial planned outcomes, and now forms part of a wider youth engagement plan for East Belfast. Over 30 young people aged 12-18 years old are taking part.

  • Breaking the Ice

    Approximately 21 young people aged from 11-21 years old from the North Coast area took part in a seven-week programme throughout March and April 2023 in conjunction with Stenaline Belfast Giants and officers from Causeway Coast and Glens Neighbourhood Policing Teams. The young people benefited from on and off the ice learning experiences and had the opportunity to skate and train with players from the Belfast Giants.  Each week also focused on an educational topic to engage the group and assist them in their decision making with the aim to move towards making prosocial choices.

  • Ballybeen Summer Diversionary

    Approximately 52 young people aged from 8-16 years old took part in a four-week online video gaming outreach programme throughout June and July 2022 alongside officers from Castlereagh Neighbourhood Policing Teams. Activities are a mixture of evening gaming sessions and educational workshops delivered by our officers discussing key topics including the dangers of anti-social behaviour, drugs, mental health and becoming involved in criminality. The young people also had the opportunity to visit the Siege Museum in Derry / Londonderry for a tour of the Museum and City Walls, and learn about the history of Britain and Ireland.  This as an intergenerational visit, which saw older members of the local community attending alongside the young people.

  • Carrickfergus Boxing Programme

    Approximately 30 young people aged from 11-18 years old took part in a yearlong boxing programme from July 2022-July 2023 alongside officers from Carrickfergus Neighbourhood Policing Teams and a local community-boxing club. The young people were offered boxing coaching with professional boxers and educational and awareness sessions with police.

    Carrickfergus Boxing Programme (1)

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    Larne Community Centre Youth Programme

    15 young people aged from 10-16 years old from the Larne area took part in a four-week engagement programme throughout July and August 2022 alongside offices from Larne Neighbourhood Policing Teams and youth workers. Activities included the use of an entertainment  and video game bus and discussing key issues affecting their lives with police.

    Factory Community Forum Biking Project

    12 young people aged from 11-17 years old took part in four planned mountain bike and water sports daytrips to Castlewellan throughout October and November 2022 alongside officers from Carrickfergus Neighbourhood Policing Teams and Factory Form Larne. The young people also had the opportunity to use an entertainment and video game bus following completion of the programme.

    Summer football mentorship scheme - Ballymena

    Approximately 35 young people from the Ballymena area aged from 12-15 years old took part in a four-week football coaching programme throughout July and August 2022 alongside officers from Ballymena Neighbourhood Policing Teams.

    Castlemara and Factory Community Forum

    12 young people aged from 16-20 years old from the Larne and Carrickfergus areas, took part in an eight-week community outreach programme from February - April 2023 alongside officers from Carrickfergus Neighbourhood Policing Teams, Castlemara Hub and The Factory Forum. Activities included workshop sessions and trips including a visit to The Jungle Outdoor Centre and to meet with Youth Reach in Dublin.

Fresh Start Through Sport

The Fresh Start through Sport programme aims to use the universal appeal of sport as a means to engage with young people who are potentially at risk from becoming involved in criminality. This Department for Communities-led programme is delivered by four sporting partners-   the Irish FA, Ulster Rugby, Ulster GAA and Belfast Giants, supported by the Police Service of Northern Ireland.

The programme, which was launched in October 2020, is funded by the NI Executive’s NI Executive’s Tackling Paramilitarism, Criminality and Organised Crime Programme has been successfully delivered to 200 young people 16-24 years in communities across Northern Ireland.

Each sporting partner collectively delivers 16 activity-based modules that guide and support the participants through the project and help them in identifying and making positive life choices.

The project is also supported by Ulster University who provide an accreditation through the UU Academy and an opportunity to enrol in an academic pathway. There are also coaching and volunteering opportunities with sport with some participants also acting as project ambassadors. Read the latest Ulster University report on Fresh Start Through Sport