'Beat Street' Project uses football to tackle underage drinking in Caerau
Following on from concerns raised by locals, a project which tackles underage drinking and anti social behaviour on the streets of Caerau is using football to stamp out anti social behaviour in the community.
Beat Street is an initiative for young people in the Caerau area of Maesteg. PCSO Molly Llewellyn and her Maesteg NPT colleagues have been building up relationships with teenagers in anti social behaviour hotspots. The aim of Beat Street is for PCSOs to work with ten to 18 year olds in the area who are at risk of misusing alcohol, encouraging them to take part in outdoor activities.
PCSO Molly Llewellyn explains: “ There is a big element of anti social behaviour, which is more pronounced with large groups of teenagers on the streets. By and large most members of the general public in the wider Maesteg area are oblivious to these issues, but something simple like bringing young people from Caerau together for football recently has been very significant. To those looking in from the outside, it is just a game of football on a Friday night, but we are breaking down barriers with the local teenagers. We hope that we may be able to scope the project out into something more sizeable.
“We are trying to use an impartial approach to tackle underage alcohol abuse by trying to get a relationship going with these teenagers. The first few weeks of the Beat Street Project has been running well and we are beginning to see results. Our main objective is to engage with the teenagers, reduce their use of alcohol and encourage their self confidence.
As well as steering teenagers away from alcohol and anti social behaviour an important part of Beat Street’s work is reducing the fear of alcohol related violence and disorder by teenagers within the Caerau community.
PCSO Llewellyn continued: “There isn’t much tolerance for teenagers in communities especially if they are hanging about a street corner or in a group. This is often intimidating to other residents. A lot of these teenagers are hanging around on the streets with their friends because they don’t have anywhere else to be.
“Drink fuelled anti social behaviour isn’t the only thing what we have to address. Through the Beat Street Project we are also aiming to educate the teenagers on the potential risk to their health that drinking alcohol creates. With the help of our partner agencies and organisations, such as Noddfa Youth Centre, we are able to offer support to young people so that they not only keep on the right side of the law but also avoid a pathway to ill health.
PCSO Molly Llewellyn finished by saying: “It is still early days, but there seems to be a genuine desire from the teenagers in the Caerau area to get involved with the football training on a Friday night and we very much hope that this approach will bring positive changes in attitudes and behaviour for all concerned.”