What is the ASCC?
Anfield Sports and Community Centre occupies a 1970’s building leased by Merseyside Youth Association on the Lower Breck Recreation Ground owned by Liverpool City Council. The Lower Breck Recreation Ground is within the Anfield region of Liverpool; an area characterised by high levels of deprivation and is a priority area of the city for government. The site itself primarily serves three wards of Liverpool, Anfield, Tuebrook and Everton. All three fall into the top 5% of most deprived wards in the City. Anfield does not have a large ethnic minority population, a pattern which is common throughout much of the City. There are a large number of children and young people living in the area who are affected by bullying, gangs, crime, drugs and alcohol related incidents.
The Anfield Sports and Community Centre (ASCC) has struggled for many years as a community charitable business. Before the Barclays Spaces for Sports (BS4S) funding ASCC received minimal support from the Youth Service and Liverpool City Council. The city council provided some activities under the supervision of unattached youth leaders and some additional income for the use of internal space as changing facilities for the Saturday and Sunday football league teams who use the grass pitches attached. A Board of Trustees and a number of enthusiastic volunteers who fostered the core of activities provided for young people.
The Anfield Sport and Community Centre has been significantly under-utilised due to a number of factors, but it has been identified as an interim location for the activities currently happening at the Vernon Sangster Community Sports Centre. The Vernon Sangster Community Sports Centre will be demolished as part of a larger stadium development for Liverpool Football Club, which has been planned to happen in the next few years.
Developing activity and skills
The Anfield Sports and Community Centre set the following aims at the start of the project;
Increase participation in a variety of sports across a variety of disciplines, age groups and genders.
Strengthening links amongst the community and a variety of groups providing sporting and social focus.
Creation and refurbishment of a current facility for the local community to play sport and lift the area.
To create a true multi sport approach to ensure all members of the community are catered for.
Work with local partners and agencies to ensure the facility is put to the best use.
The wider facility has targeted a 135% increase in participation within a year rising from 35,000 to 82,000 people.
With the help of Liverpool Football Club, ASCC will be targeting specific groups such as Asylum seekers and disabled to increase their participation in sport.
Impact to date
Some of the members from the Liverpool FC Kickz football sessions have joined forces with the members of the Everton scheme to form a ‘Liverpool Kickz team’ and participate every Sunday in the Merseyside and Halewood League. The team were named Prescott Cable’s U15’s and received further credit when they were named ‘Team of the year’ at the 2009 Kickz Awards presented at Wembley Stadium.
The Kickz programme delivered at the ASCC has helped a local young man from the Anfield ward called James ‘J’ Wallace, now aged 18 to be signed on a professional contract by Everton Football Club. James is currently playing in the reserve team al the club, but certainly has the potential to progress into the first team.
Michelle Taylor has been employed by ASCC on a three year project funded by ‘Children in Need’ to become the Community Sports Development Officer (CDSO). Michelle is currently 18 months into the programme already and has forged links with local schools and the City Sports Partnership Alliance. One of the main targets of the programme was to increase the activities on offer for females and therefore the participation levels. Michelle is also in the process of creating a youth forum which, once developed will be able to feed information back to the ASCC to help shape future agenda’s.
User experiences - james' story
An only child brought up by his mum became involved with a group of young people at the age of 15 who were causing high level anti social behaviour (ASB) in and around Anfield Sports and Community Centre (ASCC). He was served with an Acceptable behaviour contract (A.B.C) Order by the Juvenile Courts and registered with the Youth Offending Team (YOT). This came as a shock and a wakeup call for both James and his Family. His mother asked for support from ASCC as James was sports minded and had excelled at school when he was younger, she thought a change of environment and some positive guidance could save her boy from progressing into serious gangland crime.
Two years on James has transformed himself into a mature, confident, caring and happy young man, he is studying at North Liverpool Academy 6th form College and has received positive reports from the tutors. Working as a volunteer with the Kickz project, he is a talented footballer and has gained his Level 1 Coaching Award, during the school holidays. James Volunteers alongside staff and coaches at ASCC to deliver sports programmes such as Table Tennis, Basketball and is a good trampolinist. This past year he has shown an interest in the Boxing sessions and has been attending classes twice a week, he is now working towards enrolling on a Level 1 Boxing coaching qualification once he has turned 18.
James life has changed for the better, he has benefited from the support given by a network of local and wider organisations, not that he is planning to leave ASCC in the near future, hopefully he will progress to mentor other troubled young people.