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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. 

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