More About Get Hooked on Fishing

Our work is very much delivered in partnership with the environment agency and we have been successful in building up extremely strong local links with the West Mercia Police (working in targeted areas identified by them) and local schools across Shropshire. Essentially we use the sport of Angling to target those young people that don't get switched on by traditional sports and are on the verge of taking a path that could lead to a life of exclusion and/or crime. This is achieved by delivering the sport on the doorstep of where the young people live. A very successful project in the Meole Brace area of Shrewsbury has seen the young people not only engage with the project but also become involved in clearing up the exact area that only a week previously they were throwing rubbish and shopping trolleys into. This wholistic approach introduces the young people to the sport but also to the countryside, and projects have demonstrated that not only is the retention rate high for this type of project, many of past participants have also gone on to study Angling/Countryside related courses at college and lead onto future employment. This project offers young people an opportunity to get involved in a sport that can develop into other facets of countryside management. Ultimately GHOF offers a framework which is a positive journey out of a life long participation in crime, drug use, educational and social exclusion.

In the past year GHOF has been successful in attracting external funding from Sport England's Sport Unlimited Programme, Shropshire Council's Youth Services Positive Activities Fund and the Environment Agency. This funding has been utilised to get over 2000 young people engaged through the Shropshire Get Hooked on Fishing projects and have been delivered across the county in both school and community settings. As a consequence, several young people have participated in a National Fishing Competition as a result of their involvement and introduction to the sport. We feel our project is special because it provides the young people we engage with a lifelong skill and not only develops an appreciation of their local natural environment, but builds relationships between the young people and the local policing team and adults. This effectively reduces crime and anti social behaviour in many areas, as well as giving the most socially excluded young people a second chance in life.

Graham MacPherson

Business Development Manager, Energize Shropshire, Telford & Wrekin