A sports coach credited with helping reduce anti-social behaviour on estates across Stockport has been recognised with a national award for her efforts.
Sasha Moore runs the ParkLives project, a programme organised by Life Leisure that delivers after-school sports sessions for kids in areas such as Adswood and Bridgehall.
Sasha, who has been running the sessions for two years, was named Coach of the Year at the StreetGames National Awards in recognition of her work within the community, which has been credited with reducing anti-social behaviour by the police.
Sasha, 30, said: “I’m absolutely thrilled. I love my job and working with all the kids, but it’s great to be recognised by the industry for the work we do.”
Almost 100 youngsters attend the free sessions organised by Sasha and her fellow coaches. They get a choice of sports – anything from football to gymnastics – and are then given coaching together with any equipment needed.
Since it was set up in 2017 with funding from national charity StreetGames, the police have claimed that instances of anti-social behaviour involving young people on the estate and neighbouring areas have halved.
Sasha, who is a keen gymnast and competed alongside Team GB in the European School Games, said: “My passion for sport taught me to work hard and stick at something I’ve started no matter what. I now do something I love. The youngsters see that if they set their mind to it, they can do the same.
“There’s quite a lot of deprivation in the community so providing free sports for young people gives them something positive to do to channel their energy. It has such a great impact.”
Sasha is a former pupil of Bridgehall Primary School and has lived in the area all her life.
She added: “A lot of these kids come in with no respect for authority, or themselves, and they push the boundaries all the time.
“It can be challenging – especially when the kids open up about troubles at home – but it’s very rewarding.
“We aren’t there to tell them off or judge. We just provide support and encourage them to take pride in themselves.
“What we find is that discipline, self-belief and self-worth, follows. They trust me and the other coaches and we have fun.”
The StreetGames National Awards are an annual celebration of all things empowering in the youth and community sport sector.
PC Graham Umpleby, who is based at Cheadle Heath, said: “I have noticed the huge difference that Life Leisure have made in running ParkLives.
“This is not only a fantastic opportunity for local kids to get active in the area, but also continues to make a real positive impact on young people’s lives, and provides a noticeable difference in tackling the anti-social behaviour issues, which effect so many people locally.
The Life Leisure project is being funded thanks to a £500,000 grant from the Community Fund from The Big Lottery, with the support of Stockport Homes and the Youth Offending Team.
Life Leisure, which manages 13 sports and leisure facilities in and around Stockport and Barrow, also delivers sessions in Brinnington, Cheadle Heath, Lancashire Hill and Offerton.