Jersey football project 'changes habits'

A football project in Jersey has been credited with playing a major part in significantly reducing anti-social behaviour at night.

Calls to police have dropped by 70% since the Friday Night Football scheme started in Les Quennevais in 2006.

Paul Brannan, community sports development officer, said sport helped to change people's habits.

He said: "If they weren't taking part they'd be in town drinking, which we know can lead on to further problems."

Mr Brannan said: "Providing sports at Les Quennevais has changed their ideas of what happens on a Friday night."

During the two years, a similar football project has been running in St Helier reports of anti-social behaviour there have halved.

The community sports team ran 100 projects during 2010 in a number of areas identified as trouble hot spots.

More than half of the youngsters involved in one scheme said without it they would just be hanging about on their estate.

Mr Brannan said it had been about changing the culture of the evening.

He said: "Friday nights aren't so much now about finishing school, trying to find some drink and and spend your evening drinking those drinks in town.

"We've got 100 young people every Friday expecting activities to be at Fort Regent and when we take a little break from it, as we do in certain times of the year, they're asking to know why that is, because they don't want it to stop it's what they're used to doing now."

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