A football-based social-inclusion project in Haverhill is celebrating its 14th anniversary as it returns this week following a Christmas break.
Catch 22, Suffolk Positive Futures began its life in January 2004 at the football pitch next to the Burton Centre but has now been operating from the all-weather pitch at Haverhill Leisure Centre for some years.
For its entire 14 years, it has included former Haverhill Rovers manager, Neil Farlie and former Haverhill Rovers first team player Jamie Challis among the coaches that deliver sessions on Fridays from 7pm to 9pm, all free of charge thanks to the work of the charity that runs it.
Its aim is to offer young people aged ten to 19 a positive focus in their life and to give them skills, confidence and a boost to their lives.
Project manager, Paul Knight, said: “The main idea of the session, along with all that we do, is just about offering young people a safe place where they can go and enjoy an activity for free and go and meet friends and benefit from the positive role models we have among the coaches.
“We’ve had some young people who have done informal volunteering with us and have used that on CVs to go on to work placements.”
The scheme has even seen Finlay Fletcher, 18, go from being a young user of the sessions to a paid coach that now helps to lead them.
Mr Knight said: “He’s giving something back to the local community by turning up on a Friday night and taking people at the session.”
The project is open access, so no booking is necessary.