YOUNGSTERS will soon have more to do during school holidays thanks to a project created by a West Cheshire College lecturer.

Street Cage Soccer - which provides free soccer schools to underprivileged children - was created six months ago by sports lecturer Matthew Shannon and has already proved a hit in Wirral.

Its aim is to give youngsters the chance to take part in fun football training in the 'cages' usually located in parks.

By giving them something positive to do, the project - supported by Merseyside Police, backed by crime prevention panels and funded with help from community centres and youth project workers - is helping to reduce, drug and alcohol use, crime and anti-social behaviour.

Six cages are up and running in Wirral during holidays, involving 420 children aged eight to 16. During February half-term two cages ran and crime statistics reduced by 5%, and four cages at Easter doubled that percentage.

Matthew, from Wallasey, is planning to bring the project to Cheshire, initially focusing on Ellesmere Port.

He said: 'I have been in football development for five years and although commercial football schools are having a positive effect on teenagers, those from deprived areas often cannot not afford to pay for the privilege.

'I noticed that soccer cages weren't getting used so it seemed like an ideal opportunity to set up a freestyle soccer school.

'Street Cage Soccer not only gives these kids the chance to get off the street but it also encourages them to mix with children from other areas.'

From September, students at West Cheshire College will also get the chance to further develop their skills through links with Street Cage Soccer.

Students on a football coaching course being launched in September will also get the chance to coach at the soccer school.

To get your youth club involved with Street Cage Soccer, call Matthew Shannon on 0775 289 8284 or e-mail