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New beach sports initiative on the Isle of Wight to tackle anti-social behaviour this summer

15 March 2023

The Police and Crime Commissioner, Donna Jones, has responded to calls to help combat anti-social behaviour (ASB) in Ryde by funding a summer sports programme.

Cllr Joe Robertson wrote to the Commissioner in February asking her to assist in diverting young people away from criminal activity in the town and surrounding areas.

He teamed up with Luke Kerr, at Wight Wave Beach Sports, and Ryde Police Inspector Andrew McDonald and put together a bid for a £5,000 grant to introduce a summer sports programme aimed at young people identified by local police.

The Commissioner has now confirmed that the money, which is from her ASB Taskforce fund set up to ensure local organisations work together, has been approved and the programme will start in May. The bid was also supported by Isle of Wight Police.

Wight Wave have been providing organised beach sports, including volleyball and soccer, on the sand in Ryde for over 10 years. The new programme will be in addition to their summer schedule and aimed specifically at diverting young people away from anti-social behaviour and temptation into criminality.

Donna Jones, Police and Crime Commissioner, said: “I am aware of the youth ASB issues that have been going on for some time.

“Cllr Joe Robertson contacted me to make me aware of the issues and to discuss potential solutions to divert young people from committing crimes in local communities whilst giving them something to do.

“When Joe suggested this project, I was pleased to support it and wanted to ensure it was in place for the summer period to reduce issues for local people.”

Luke Kerr, from Wight Wave, said, “I am really pleased to be working with Joe, Andy and the local police to deliver this new project.

“Our professional coaches are from civilian and military backgrounds and are hugely experienced at working with kids from all backgrounds. Through our partners we are able to provide sport coach accreditation and career opportunities too.”

Cllr Robertson, who first proposed a new project using sports to divert young people away from criminality, said, “We know there is a spike in anti-social behaviour during summer months.

“I am pleased to have been able to work with Luke at Wight Wave and Ryde police to get young people into local sports where they can channel their energy in positive ways.

“This will not only benefit Ryde but the surrounding area too and it is something positive we can build on in the future. My thanks to Donna Jones for responding to our calls and approving our bid. I look forward to supporting the beach sports programme as soon as it starts.”