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National Award for dedicated youth sports coach

06/08/2019

A sports coach credited with helping reduce anti-social behaviour on estates across Stockport has been recognised with a national award for her efforts.

Sasha Moore runs the ParkLives project, a programme organised by Life Leisure which delivers after-school sports sessions for kids in areas such as Adswood and Bridgehall.

Sasha, who has been running the sessions for two years, was named ‘Coach of the Year’ at the StreetGames National Awards. It was awarded in recognition of her work within the community, which has been credited with reducing anti-social behaviour by the police.

Sasha, 30, said: “I’m absolutely thrilled. I love my job and working with all the kids, but it’s great to be recognised by the industry for the work we do.”

Almost a hundred youngsters attend the free sessions organised by Sasha and her fellow coaches. They are given a choice of sports – anything from football to gymnastics – and are then given coaching together with any equipment needed.

Since it was set up in 2017 with funding from national charity StreetGames, the police have claimed that instances of anti-social behaviour involving young people on the estate and neighbouring areas have halved.

Sasha, who is a keen gymnast and competed alongside Team GB in the European School Games, said: “My passion for sport taught me to work hard and stick at something I’ve started no matter what. I now do something I love. The youngsters see that if they set their mind to it, they can do the same.

“There’s quite a lot of deprivation in the community so providing free sports for young people gives them something positive to do to channel their energy. It has such a great impact.”

Sasha is a former pupil of Bridgehall Primary School and has lived in the area all her life. She added: “A lot of these kids come in with no respect for authority, or themselves, and they push the boundaries all the time. It can be challenging – especially when the kids open up about troubles at home – but it’s very rewarding.

“We aren’t there to tell them off or judge. We just provide support and encourage them to take pride in themselves. What we find is that discipline, self-belief and self-worth, follows. They trust me and the other coaches and we have fun.”

The StreetGames National Awards are an annual celebration of all things empowering in the youth and community sport sector.

Ian Dixon, Head of Sports Development, at Life Leisure, said: “This award is truly deserved. Sasha’s experience and approach to coaching has encouraged more young coaches and increased participation within the local community. Sasha goes above and beyond what is expected, works harder and achieves so much more than what is asked of her.”

PC Graham Umpleby, from Stockport Local Cheadle Heath Team, added that he is looking forward to doing more work with Sasha.

He said: “ I am the new Neighbourhood Police Officer to the local area, and I have already noticed the huge difference that Life Leisure have made in running ParkLives. This is not only a fantastic opportunity for local kids to get active in the area, but also continues to make a real positive impact on young people’s lives, and provides a noticeable difference in tackling the anti-social behaviour issues, which affect so many people locally. Over the coming months, I will continue to work closely with local schools and Sasha, who run the ParkLives sessions. I look forward to continuing this incredible relationship between us within the area, fully supporting the community engagement, which has been built up over the years. I also even hope to help Sasha, and the committed coaches out in the coming months, to form that positive link between the Police and our young people within the community.”

Sasha is now looking forward to a new project, Our Time, which is being set up by Life Leisure to engage with more children across Stockport, either through more sports, or other activities such as photography.

The Life Leisure project is being funded thanks to a £500,000 grant from the Community Fund from The Big Lottery, with the support of Stockport Homes and the Youth Offending Team.

Life Leisure, which manages 13 sports and leisure facilities in and around Stockport and Barrow, also delivers sessions in Brinnington, Cheadle Heath, Lancashire Hill and Offerton.

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