Oswestry football club’s charity has been praised for its work in leading a project which brought together local organisations and agencies to help young people in need of extra support.

The New Saints FC Foundation recently won Government funding for the Oswestry Youth Sport Programme aimed at helping young people facing challenges in school and needing extra support and redirection.

The New Saints FC Foundation teamed up with the Marches School, the Brightstar boxing academy in Shifnal, Oswestry Town Council, Shropshire Council’s early help team, Oswestry Community kitchen OsNosh, and West Mercia Police to run a ten week programme of support for ten youngsters.

The programme included one-to-one mentoring, an outing to Manchester United FC, a talk by Olympian and Go Hard Go Home TV show star Adele Nicoll plus sport and fitness sessions to build team spirit, confidence and a sense of community.

The pilot course finished recently with a presentation event at The New Saints’ headquarters at Park Hall, near Oswestry when the course leaders paid tribute to the progress the young people had made.

Young people taking part were presented with awards by Ian Williams of The New Saints FC including a football signed by the team.

Justine Holdsworth of The Marches School said that it had been a privilege to get to know the young people on the programme and watch them succeed alongside the Oswestry Youth Sport Programme team. The result had been a huge improvement in lessons gradings and behaviour.

The event heard from young people involved in the programme who said it had been a thought-provoking and rewarding experience.

“I think I have improved as a person because I think about others more,” said one.

Tom Leather of the New Saints Foundation and lead coach on the project said that it had been inspirational to be involved in the programme.

“It’s been based around creating a team and understanding that they are working together as one. They have all been amazing on both the good days and the bad days.

“Whilst the programme is coming to an end, the project isn’t stopping. All the mentors are still there for these young adults to support them in the future,” he said.

Mel France of Shropshire Council said the programme had brought together community services to help young people.

“We are really proud of the programme and how everyone worked in the community to support these young people. It was an inspiration to see the change,” she said.

Jack Lellow of the Brightstar boxing academy said it had been a pleasure to work alongside The New Saints FC Foundation team.

“We hope that, through boxing, those taking part have learned about respect and discipline and will feel empowered and confident to grow as part of the community,” he said.