A FOOTBALL league set up for youngsters in villages around Chester-le-Street is proving a success.

The PACT Premier League was started by Police Community Support Officers Steven Larter and Sonia Jameson earlier this year for youngsters in Grange Villa, West Pelton and Pelton Fell.

It was promoted through PACT (Police and Community Together) meetings and quickly expanded to take in teams from Sacriston, Edmondsley and Nettlesworth with help from the local PCSO Hannah Liddle.

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The teams are now split into two age groups , 9-12 and 13-16, Pelton Fell winning the junior section and Edmondsley the senior one.

The competition is now the talk of the villages and has helped build relationships between the officers and the youngsters and their parents.

PCSO Jameson said: “The turnouts were excellent, Pelton Fell saw residents old and new mixing with each other, cheering their kids on, the Brockwell Community Centre opened their café specially selling hotdogs, burgers and beer. A great day was had by all.

“At Grange Villa the kids were training every night in preparation for their next match and again the turnout was excellent.”

So far, the league has operated without any proper equipment. But a donation of £2,000 from Cestria Community Housing’s community fund should change this.

The funding bid was supported in a vote by tenants and the PCSOs hope to be able to buy proper kit for the teams, as well as coaching and training aids.