Kickstarting facilities for youngsters

New for Leyland: An inflatable football pitch similar to one Paul Maloney  is bringing to the town in the New Year
New for Leyland: An inflatable football pitch similar to one Paul Maloney is bringing to the town in the New Year
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An innovative dad is bringing an inflatable football pitch to Leyland, in the hope of getting teens off the streets at night.

Paul Maloney, 42, runs Freestyle Urban Soccer in his hometown of Chorley.

Now, after being contacted by Leyland police sergeant John Ainscough, he’s been given the go-ahead to bring the feature to Leyland in the New Year.

He said: “I think this will be a real bonus for the town. The plan is to operate every Saturday from 6pm until 9pm, for about three months.

“We try to address the issues of young people hanging out on street corners, and I know there are problems around the Tesco area.

“It’s about giving young people something to do by taking that facility straight to them.

“If we bring something like this directly into the community, there’s no excuse for people not getting involved.”

As well as football, the new feature also allows teens to plug their phones into the music system and control what songs are played.

“There has to be some form of supervision,” Paul said, “but like with the football games, we leave it to them really.

“It’s their rules, they need to take ownership of this. They don’t like being told what to do.”

The dad-of-three, who has been running Freestyle Urban Soccer in Chorley since 2010, describes the facility as a ‘mobile youth club’ – volunteers can also speak to the teens about issues including sex and drugs.

Paul said: “The sport attracts them, but we find that they like talking to us as well. They tell us things they wouldn’t necessarily talk to the police about, and we offer advice where we can.”

The project will start small in Leyland and just offer the football at first, but has the scope to bring a host of other activities to the town under the Freestyle Urban Soccer umbrella, such as tennis, boxing, street golf, basketball and cricket.

Final discussions are now taking place over when and where it will run from, but it should be situated in West Paddock from January.

- What do you think about the idea? Contact kay.taylor@lep.co.uk or call 01257 264911.