The government is giving £5m to 200 grassroots sports organizations in a bid to provide young people in disadvantaged areas with a constructive way to spend their free time.
You might be forgiven for assuming that this money was part of a Ministry of Culture, Media and Sport initiative, but it is actually part of a push by the Ministry of Justice to prevent youth crime.
According to government figures, youth crime costs UK taxpayers £1.5 billion a year, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Justice Dominic Raab He believes schemes like this can make a huge difference to children who are at risk of going down a dark path one day.
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“For those young people who may be at risk of drifting into antisocial behavior or even worse, things like drugs and gangs, we give them – by supporting sports like boxing and football – a positive outlet,” he said.
However, Labor has consistently criticized the Conservatives for underfunding disadvantaged urban areas – something the prime minister was sharply criticized last year when he told a Conservative crowd in Tunbridge Wells about it.
When challenged about cuts to youth centers in places like Tottenham under a Conservative government, Mr Raab defended the government’s financial choices: “We have to cut our coat according to our clothes.
“We’ve been through this incredible financial challenge that the whole world has seen, but what we’re doing and what you can see we’re doing here is protecting and maintaining investment in these types of schemes.”
When I asked former footballer and ThruLife ambassador Jobe McCanuff if he thought the government was providing enough funding for areas like his hometown of Tottenham, he replied: “No is the short answer.”
He continued, “This is very much our future and I think we must do everything we can to put these projects and facilities in place for children, as well as to beat the drum and make some noise and I hope those in authority will listen and understand how important the work that is being done in these areas.”
ThruLife co-founder Michael Donaldson told me he didn’t think the money was enough and made it clear he wanted politicians to be more trained when it came to helping communities like his.
“I would love to see them actually spend, instead of five or 10 minutes, coming down and being part of a program, coming and working with us for a week. I know it’s hard but I haven’t seen anyone do it yet and I don’t understand why.”
While this cash infusion would be a welcome boost to popular sports clubs like ThruLife who are doing all they can to prevent youth crime, they remain unconvinced that those in the Westminster bubble handing out douche understand what children in disadvantaged areas face on a daily basis – day.