A team of Wigan youngsters from estates troubled by anti-social behaviour will represent England after winning a regional football competition.The team from Wigan beat off stiff competition from young people from similar estates around the country in the Coalfields Regeneration Trust annual Inter-Regional tournament. They will now go on to represent England in a Home International competition in November.
The young people have been taking part in the Coalfields Regeneration Trust Midnight League/ Game On initiative. The initiative, which is run by The Football League Trust, uses the positive power of football to engage with disaffected young people in areas identified by the police and youth agencies as ‘hotspots’ for anti-social behaviour and crime. The CRT Midnight League programme involves sports coaching, dance and music session and are run for a minimum of 40 weeks of the year at times identified by the police as being the peak for anti-social behaviour – typically Friday and Saturday evenings, however this can vary between locations.
Aiden Couch, Project Manager at The Football League Trust comments, “The CRT Midnight League project has proven to benefit the local communities in which the sessions are running. Activities are delivered at times when young people might otherwise be engaging in anti-social behaviour or low level crime, offering young males and females a safe and friendly environment to keep fit, make friends and enjoy playing sport. The project decreases anti-social behaviour within some of the most deprived areas, creating opportunities such as volunteering, qualifications, apprenticeships, regular competitions and workshops.”
The event, which was held in Derby, was an under 16, mixed gender 5-a side tournament and the clubs represented included, Doncaster, Wigan, Hartlepool and Derby County. The winning Wigan Team were presented with a trophy on the pitch at the iPro stadium, Derby County FC before the match against Millwall.
It was a clean sweep for Wigan as the runners up were Wigan B, and both will go on to represent England at the Home International Tournament to be held in Tulliallan in Scotland on the 1st November.