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Last Updated: Wednesday, 26 October 2005, 12:25 GMT 13:25 UK
Street football scheme kicks off
It is hoped playing football will keep children out of trouble
Children are being encouraged to play street football in an attempt to keep them out of trouble.

Grampian Police hope that persuading youngsters to return to the sport will keep them engaged and encourage socially acceptable behaviour.

As part of the 75,000 scheme, inspired by a similar move in South America, a portable pitch will be taken to various locations throughout the force area.

The pitch is designed to be laid out quickly on any surface.

Grampian Police teamed up with Aberdeen Football Club and Kincorth Academy to launch the project which they said provided an alternative for youngsters during the evenings when no other facilities were available.

A similar street football project was launched in Arbroath in 2003 and instantly proved a hit with young people.

The project provides an alternative to drugs and alcohol and aims to divert youths away from anti-social behaviour
Kellie McDonald
Grampian Police

The game will now be available to community groups throughout Aberdeen.

Grampian's youth liaison co-ordinator Kellie McDonald spearheaded the campaign.

"The portable pitch can be used for a range of sports including basketball and volleyball," she said.

"It can be set up in a few minutes in any space including car parks, schools and shopping centres across the city.

'Real need'

"Ultimately the project takes sport to young people within their own communities, provides an alternative to drugs and alcohol and aims to divert youths away from anti-social behaviour."

She added: "The pitch in Arbroath has been extremely successful in reducing youth annoyance across Angus and there is a real need to provide such a facility in Grampian."

Grampian Police have funded the mobile pitch and the city's Robert Gordon University will pay for a full-time development officer.

The scheme will be run by the Aberdeen Safer Community Trust.

'Streetfootball' is known in Colombia as "Football for Peace". It is also played in Germany where it is known as "Street Football for Tolerance".

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