Stay Onside is a project funded by the Premier League and BBC Children in Need which works alongside the Premier League Kicks initiative to engage some of the most vulnerable young people in Wolverhampton.
While the Kicks project provides the opportunity to engage with young people from the local community, Stay Onside takes the next step with more individual tailored support.
Foundation staff work along with strategic partners from within the city to identify those who are most at risk of becoming involved in crime or gang-related violence, or may have other issues with behaviour or isolation.
Both one-to-one mentoring or group support can be offered to help young people who may be at risk to make more positive choices.
This mentoring can also take place in an environment which is more comfortable for the young people concerned, for example while playing FIFA online or taking part in a sporting activity.
Young people can be referred into the Stay Onside project having previously attended Kicks, or from other venues including Pupil Referral Units and The Way Youth Zone, or partner organisations such as West Midlands Police, St Giles Trust or by the Schools Inclusion Officer with the City of Wolverhampton Council.
The aims of Stay Onside are as follows:
- To support young people at risk of becoming involved in violent crime and/or exploitation by empowering them to make positive choices.
- To develop a positive relationship with young people who have been involved in trauma as a victim of crime, exploitation or their environment to support their ability to regulate behaviour, consider their choices and make informed decisions.
- To create a safe space environment with the support of relatable adults for young people to be educated on positive choices away from what can be seen as controlling authorities such as their school or the Police.