A PROJECT designed to provide a positive alternative to antisocial behaviour launches this summer.

Young people in the Woodhouse Close and St Helen Auckland areas of Bishop Auckland will benefit from a new sport and activity-led project at Auckland Youth and Community Centre.

The Auckland Games has been created by Durham police, believe housing, Accent, StreetGames, AYCC, Prosper and Durham County Council.

Free sessions, for eight to 16-year-olds, will be on Thursdays, from 6pm to 7pm, at AYCC, on Woodhouse Close Estate. They will feature a range of sports and games coordinated by staff and volunteers from AYCC and the other partner organisations.

The initiative is the result of work earlier this year to tackle specific antisocial behaviour issues in both areas following feedback from residents and local businesses.

Housing organisations believe housing and Accent gave £4,000 and £1,000 respectively to the project.

Bishop Auckland Neighbourhood Policing Team has also supported the project, contacting schools and businesses to raise awareness of the initiative and training volunteers to run sessions.

Safer neighbourhoods officer from believe housing, Steve Green, said: “This project has been brought to fruition really quickly as a result of work with local residents and businesses. It should help to provide positive alternatives to antisocial behaviour for dozens of young people in the area on a regular basis, helping them into sport and physical activity plus giving them new opportunities to socialise in a safe place.

“It’s been great to work with all of the partners in this project and we were very happy to provide funding to turn the idea into reality.”

Accent regional customer experience manager Amanda Oakley said: “We are absolutely delighted to be supporting the Auckland Games. Partnerships like these can be invaluable in keeping young people off the streets and prove to be educational, fun and a great way to make new friends. We have a number of residents living in Woodhouse Close, so we hope they pop along and get involved.”

PCSO Beth Maddox said: “We are launching this event to give young people something to do on an evening and get involved in sporting activities when they may previously have not been able too.

"It’s incredible that it is free to attend, and we are receiving numerous donations from local businesses for free refreshments and equipment.

"We have some exciting games to play and want to hear what activities they would like to see on future nights.

"This is a great opportunity for the young people of Bishop Auckland to get involved, get to know their local officers, improve their health and make new friends.”

Widening Horizons manager David McCreedy, from AYCC Ltd, said: “This project is going to benefit young people in the area greatly. It’s great to see local organisations working in partnership to develop new, exciting and worthwhile projects.”