2009 saw the start of a programme of Street Academies run by Keighley Cougars Rugby League Club Community Foundation staff and funded by Incommunities. The idea was to target young people living on local Incommunities estates, who were perceived as having little to occupy them during the summer holidays and longer summer days. The perception of some residents was that the young people were bored and their behaviour was becoming anti-social with the inherent risk of further escalation.
Foundation staff set up a series of regular street games and activities, through which they built their relationships with the young people involved. They identified that some of these young people did have challenging behaviour; some were not regularly attending school, some had problems at home and some were already known to their Neighbourhood Policing Team(s).
Foundation Staff found that they – as professional sportsmen – were in a unique position to engage with, mentor and support a number of these young people. The subsequent outcomes of their improved behaviour when playing outside, being at home and attending school proved to be the genesis of Your Sporting Chance.
Incommunities saw the impact of this approach and their Foundation Board approved the setting up and funding of Your Sporting Chance.
Initially the Project concentrated on mainly generic youth work projects working with young people based within the estates and housing stock owned by Incommunities , and in 2011 was awarded the Yorkshire and Humberside What We Are Proud Of Award 2011 voted for by other local housing officers.
In the early stages of the project it was seen how the involvement of Professional Sportspeople could particularly influence those young people who were already on the fringes of the criminal justice system , especially through individual work and mentoring , with the current format of the YSC project developing over a number of years to reflect this through the referral system way of working today.