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Page last updated at 17:33 GMT, Tuesday, 21 July 2009 18:33 UK

Tales from the Festival Zone

Kim Ellis
Kim Ellis from Cardiff GUM clinic reflects on a good day

On a normal day at a Genito-Urinary Medicine clinic in Cardiff, Kim Ellis says they may get 20 young people through the door for chlamydia testing.

At Cardiff around three times that number took the chance to take the simple urine sample that can tell them if they have the UK's most-common STD.

"It's been really useful because at the clinic it is girls who are the big attenders. Here we have had a chance to talk to young lads who wouldn't come along, who may live fairly chaotic lives, teach them about the disease and get them tested," said Kim Ellis.

"It is all about making it easy for people and by bringing it here and explaining the fact that it is a simple, sensitive test for a disease that may go undetected because of its lack of symptoms."

The Terrence Higgins Trust stall was also present to hand out advice on how to avoid HIV and other sexually-transmitted diseases.

After a slow start Your Game boxing coach Leroy Nicholas saw a few budding Joe Calzaghes emerge to have a crack at the boxing. But it wasn't the boys that impressed him the most.

"The lads come in thinking that they can already box. The girls come in and are ready to listen, pick up the technique, keep jabbing and twisting and end up really boxing properly," he said.

Leroy Nicholas
Leroy Nicholas pads up for the boxing training

Leroy runs Sweet Science, a charity that is using boxing to help combat gun and knife violence in schools.

"Boxing works for kids in many ways. It improves their fitness and drive down obesity, promotes respect for each other, helps eliminate bullying and teaches them control and discipline.

"All our teachers are ex-boxers themselves and the kids really relate to them as guys who have been through some tough time and achieved."

Roy Norris from Comic Relief agreed that communities should make use of the former sportspeople in their midst.

"There are plenty of former sportspeople, they don't have to be superstars, whose skills we can use to get sport going that can reach out across communities. Sport is such a powerful social dynamic it is bound to be effective in improving lives of individuals and communities."

Comic Relief's Sport for Change offers grants of up to £100,000 to organisations that use sport to reach out to people across and within communities.

Gareth Hughes explained to young people how the Big Lottery Fund's Awards for All, Wales could help with between £500 and £5000 for projects that used sport as a conduit for change.

BBC Children in Need's James Bird was pleased see a team from Bad Bikes, a community group that uses mountain-biking to engage with young people, down playing at the festival.

Roy Norris
Roy Norris of Comic Relief stands duty in the red tent

It was one of the projects funded by BBC Children in Need as part of its aim to bring positive change to disadvantaged young people.

"Some of the young people here are a bit too old for our funding (which runs up to 18) but as well as Bad Bikes we have also seen Cardiff People First, a self-advocacy group for disabled young people, down today and it is great to see these groups getting out there and growing," said James.

The Coalfields Regeneration Trust provide football for young people in areas of Wales where 40% of the mining and steel industry that used to sustain the region has disappeared. Sport helps to keep those who could otherwise easily be drawn into social problems on the pitch. An ideal match of BBC Your Game.

"We also aim to build more vocational skills around the football as well and get the players to film the matches and post reports on the internet. We obviously concentrate on the valleys rather than Cardiff itself but hopefully we will be able to get some of the lads involved," said Alun Taylor.



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