Community wrestling club expresses gratitude for PCCs funding lifeline

Alert message sent 10/02/2021 10:19:00

Information sent on behalf of Derbyshire Police & Crime Commissioner

Derbyshire Police and Crime Commissioner Hardyal Dhindsa has been praised for stepping in to help safeguard an award-winning community wrestling club amid Covid-19.

Aspire Wrestling Alliance Ltd in Chaddesden, Derby, has been awarded £18,500 from the Commissioner's new Vulnerability Fund for vital roofing repairs and a new heating system to help secure its future work with vulnerable young people and those at risk of crime or exploitation.

Before the pandemic, the club delivered wrestling sessions to around 200 locals every month, many of whom were young people who had previously been in trouble with the police and others suffering mental health issues or coping with difficult situations in their home-life.

It also runs emotional wellbeing sessions in primary schools as part of a project called The Right Road to help prevent school exclusions.

The scheme, which has previously been supported by the PCC, was nominated for a National Crimebeat Award by The High Sheriff of Derbyshire.

Since March 2020, the club has become a full-time food hub for the DE21 postcode area of Derby, working as part of the Derby 4 Food Thought Alliance to feed thousands of vulnerable people across four of the city's 17 wards during the pandemic.

However, without the PCC's funding lifeline, much of the centre's future work with young people, parents, schools, police and social workers was at risk.

Rob Shade, founder and Managing Director of Aspire Wrestling Alliance, said: "First of all, can I express my tremendous gratitude to Hardyal and his team for agreeing to fund our critical building work. Without it, there was only a question of time before the roof fell in on us and potentially concluded the work of Aspire.

"We have many case studies of young people who have joined and become a part of a group. They felt they belonged, they were accepted and valued and they grew in self-belief. Their physical health improved and they realised that they actually had a worth in life.

"They also naturally found mentors they trusted - the older members of the group who, among others, include a current police officer and who besides wrestling himself has become a trusted person for teenagers and others to talk to." 

The Vulnerability Fund has been launched by the PCC to address a range of community challenges including the victimisation of people unable to go out due to age, frailty, poor health, mobility issues or health conditions, vulnerable people who have lost jobs or income during the pandemic, people at risk of becoming a victim or perpetrator of crime due to family or life circumstances or due to learning difficulties, physical disabilities, mental health conditions and people with a history of or vulnerability to substance misuse.     

Mr Dhindsa said: "My Vulnerability Fund recognises the huge impact community projects have on the lives of disadvantaged and vulnerable people and their success in preventing harm.

"Aspire Wrestling Alliance has helped turn around many lives through its mentorship work and has delivered a critical service during the Covid-19 crisis through its emergency food service.

"I am delighted to provide this financial help which will secure the club's activities throughout the year and ensure many more young people and families benefit from its services."  

Twenty-three organisations successfully applied for large grants under the first phase of the PCC's Vulnerability Fund, announced last month.

The grant scheme, which is being delivered in partnership with the 3D Network for Derbyshire and is the first of its kind in the county, supports a host of critical community services and ensure those in desperate need receive the help they need to stay safe over the coming months.

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Tim Parkin (Office of the PCC, Digital Engagement Officer, Derbyshire)

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