Project will tackle antisocial behaviour at YMCA Ipswich and surrounding area after neighbours’ complaints

From left: ASB coaches Christina Newton and Leah Cooper, and accommodation manager Annette Hinds. Pi

From left: ASB coaches Christina Newton and Leah Cooper, and accommodation manager Annette Hinds. Picture: GEMMA MITCHELL - Credit: Archant

Constant complaints from irritated neighbours of a YMCA accommodation in Ipswich has led bosses to crack down on troublemakers.

Scott Ashworth, who lives at the YMCA in Wellington Street, Ipswich. Picture: GEMMA MITCHELL

Scott Ashworth, who lives at the YMCA in Wellington Street, Ipswich. Picture: GEMMA MITCHELL - Credit: Archant

Almost £20,000 has been awarded to the charity to employ two anti-social behaviour coaches to work with past and present residents, their friends and other youngsters who cause a nuisance in and around the Wellington Street site.

There will be three 12-week educational programmes to help individuals aged 16 to 21 understand the impact of their actions on the community. Participants will also play sports, receive sexual health advice and learn about anger management and self-esteem.

Annette Hinds, accommodation manager, said staff used to tell problematic young people to go away, but now they tell them to come in and be a part of the scheme, which has been made possible by the Police and Crime Commissioner Tim Passmore’s Safer Suffolk Fund.

She added: “For the past four to five years we have had a lot of complaints.

Mayor of Ipswich Roger Fern tries his hand at pool during the launch of the YMCA positive behaviour

Mayor of Ipswich Roger Fern tries his hand at pool during the launch of the YMCA positive behaviour project. Picture: GEMMA MITCHELL - Credit: Archant

“We hope it will help prevent crime, reduce antisocial behaviour and build a better relationship with our community.”

If it is successful, Ms Hinds said the project could be extended to the YMCA accommodation in Bury St Edmunds, where there are similar problems.

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Resident Scott Ashworth, 20, is taking part in the first run of the programme, and he will then become a mentor to help others during the last two courses.

When asked what sort of issues occur in the area, he said: “People congregating in the car park, people getting drunk and coming back and causing trouble. Hopefully this programme will help sort that.”

The two anti-social behaviour coaches are Christina Newton and Leah Cooper.

Mayor of Ipswich Roger Fern expressed his support for the initiative at the launch event on Wednesday, when he also challenged some of the residents to a game of pool. He said: “I think it’s great idea, I’m all for it.”

Mr Passmore said he was “delighted” to give his financial backing.

“I am a great believer in giving people a second chance and I sincerely hope that this project will provide the guidance required to help keep our young people out of trouble with the police and help them to reach their full potential,” he added.