Streetsport, a non-profit community initiative in Aberdeen, has been recognised at the 2017 StreetGames Awards. The ceremony highlights the inspiring work of people and projects within the StreetGames community network.

Streetsport’s success in Aberdeen

Streetsport aims to reduce anti-social behaviour in Aberdeen by running free weekly sports and creative activity sessions for young people.

Mark Williams, chief operating officer (COO) at Streetsport, says: “We provide 15 activity sessions a week across Aberdeen, where they're needed the most. These are areas where there is a particular problem with antisocial behaviour or areas of deprivation or regeneration in Aberdeen.”

The non-profit project has seen spectacular success, reducing anti-social behaviour by 44% on average in every area of Aberdeen they visit. Some places have seen a decrease of up to 80%. Mark Williams explains: “That’s not 10 incidents down to 2, it's more like 300 incidents down to double figures - incidents where the police are involved.”

We've reduced anti-social behaviour by 44% on average in all the areas we go to, with some areas showing a drop of as much as 80%.” - Mark Williams, COO at Streetsport

As well as organising various grassroots sports activities to promote health and encourage inclusivity, Mark and his team of volunteers run school programmes with the police and fire service. Streetsport also helps young people with career choices. Their employability programme for 16-19 year olds is 2-years long and aims to give young people the confidence to go on to further education, or pursue a career that they never dreamed they could achieve.

Mark Williams says: “Basically, we ask young people to choose their dream job and we put them on the right pathway to it in return for volunteering. And they're now getting into college -- on courses they never believed they'd be able to get onto a year, or 6 months ago. It's something I'm incredibly proud of.”

Find out more about Streetsport on their website

Part of Coca-Cola GB’s ParkLives and StreetGames partnership

Streetsport is among the 600 community organisations supported by StreetGames. The sports charity, in partnership with Coca-Cola Great Britain, helps to provide grassroots sports to disadvantaged communities across the UK.

“We had a lot of support from Coca-Cola Great Britain which meant we could buy a lot more kit, providing more opportunities for young people to engage with us.” - Mark Williams, COO at Streetsport

Streetsport also got involved with Coca-Cola Great Britain’s ParkLives to increase the community feelgood factor in Aberdeen. Last summer, the Streetsport ParkLives programme welcomed over 600 young participants from a number of different backgrounds. In the last 2 years, the project has expanded from 4 sessions a week with 6 volunteers, to 15 sessions a week with 50 volunteers.

Mark Williams explains: “We used ParkLives as a fresh approach to targeting the local community. We had a lot of support from Coca-Cola Great Britain which meant we could buy a lot more kit, providing more opportunities for young people to engage with us.”

Part of Streetsport ParkLives was a joint project that Streetsport ran with Police Scotland called ‘Operation Smallwood’. “The police were playing in the same teams as the kids – everyone was learning names, breaking down barriers. Rather than calling them 'the police' or 'the feds' the kids were getting to know them by their first names, getting to know their local police officer rather than running away from them.”

The combined impact of reducing anti-social behaviour, bringing a community closer and making it safer won Operation Smallwood the “Greatest contribution to Policing Priority” award at the National Policing Excellence awards 2016.

Recognition and the StreetGames awards

Streetsport was also recognised at this year’s StreetGames Awards, which celebrate the inspiring work and impact that projects and individuals within the StreetGames network have in their local community. Streetsport was named with ParkLives as StreetGames’ Project of the Year.

“It's amazing to think that we're providing free opportunities for sport, but making a difference to young people’s futures – it’s mind-blowing.” - Mark Williams, COO at Streetsport

Mark Williams was overjoyed with Streetsport’s award success: “I can't believe we won! We were just glad to be a part of it, never mind winning. We're delighted. And the attention we're getting will hopefully make the sessions bigger. People are already asking when ParkLives starts again.”

Streetsport’s success at the StreetGames Awards even earned an official congratulation from the Scottish Parliament:

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Text of official Scottish Parliamentary motion congratulating Streetsport

Mark Williams said: “It's amazing to think that we're providing free opportunities for sport, but making a difference to young people’s futures – it’s mind-blowing. Sport is just the hook, that's all it is. After that, it's all about the engagement and the support and the mentoring we can provide.”

Learn more about Coca-Cola’s partnership with StreetGames and ParkLives