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Football initiative scores well with Peterborough youngsters

A police-led football initiative has gone from strength to strength more than 60 children now in attendance every week.
Football at Gladstone Street
Football at Gladstone Street

Chief Constable Nick Dean joined PCSO Thomas Puthenpurayil at one of the sessions last week.

The scheme, which is the creation of PCSO Puthenpurayil, runs every Wednesday evening in an attempt to engage with the most vulnerable and hard-to-reach children in Peterborough.

PCSO Puthenpurayil has run the sessions since 2014 and relies solely on external funding which he gains through the goodwill of the local community.

Peterborough Lions Rugby Club were also in attendance to present the scheme with a cheque for £350.

Donations go towards paying for use of the pitches at Gladstone Park in Bourges Boulevard and the expertise of two football coaches, including former Peterborough United footballer Luke Kennedy.

PCSO Puthenpurayil said: “It is so pleasing to see numbers increasing every week. When I started six years ago we only had few coming and now even on a cold and wet February evening we have so many.”

Mr Dean said: “It is really encouraging to see a community pull together in this way, so many young people being outside, exercising and having fun.

“Most importantly they are building strong relationships with a wide range of people from all different cultures which can only lead to a positive future.”