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Community Action Through Sport (CATS) - Bude visit by Tony Hogg

This was not the first time Tony Hogg had visited CATS in Bude. Previously he had spoken at their awards evening as a guest of Denise May MBE, the founder. Tony looks back at his latest visit to this fantastic organisation

Bude CATS was established 10 years ago in answer to the antisocial behaviour act, and in response to a dispersal area being imposed on the young people locally. Youngsters, along with representatives from the local police and secondary school, attempted to raise the reputation of the area. Positive contributions by young people were going unnoticed and CATS set out, not only to recognise, but also acknowledge these contributions. Positive action was then rewarded with sports activities or healthy living rewards. A small grant of just under £5000 was awarded from my office in 2013 to fund sports diversion schemes.

This time I met with Sharon Marshall, a volunteer and committee member and the person managing the OPCC small grant. I also met with Annie Winsland another committee member and sessional Youth worker. Annie heads up Bude youth hub and spoke of the significant throughput of young people working with CATS.

Sharon and Annie explained how important their service was in the context of the relative isolation within Cornwall of the Bude area, local authority cutbacks of the youth service and youth provision. They also highlighted a reduction of PCSO attendance at their regular monthly meetings. Police presence often equated to prevention of crime and antisocial behaviour in the community.

The best part of the visit was talking to the young people working with CATS. I met with Tasha, who was doing a dance project and she spoke eloquently of an exhibition on friendship which she had been part of. I also spoke to Bethany, who was interested in multi sport activity, Ethan and Max who was a peer mentor to other young people.

I hope to be able to attend the CATS awards evening on 21 May.

Having worked with young people in the voluntary sector I found myself immensely impressed with the poise and confidence with which these young people working with CATS were able to express their views so lucidly. Each one of them appeared to have excellent potential as leaders and role models of the future.

Tony Hogg

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