HAWICK Rugby Club are taking part in a new initiative aimed at helping youngsters keep out of trouble which is funded by money confiscated from criminals.

The club has been inviting young people the town to engage in physical activity, whilst socialising in a positive environment and becoming upskilled on key educational themes such as tackling anti-social behaviour within the community.

The scheme hopes to educate young people, allowing them to engage with local community police officers, as well as other services and mental health experts and aims to keep young people off the streets and make them think about their actions.

Hawick Youth Development Officer Graham Hogg said: “Things like this aims to educate the kids. The big thing is that we have them outside and we keep them active and off the street of Hawick for this time on a Wednesday night. Inside there is drug awareness stuff and mental health stuff and we have the police who will be here each week. It’s just about trying to educate these kids and making sure that they are not committing crime in the future and it’s about learning and making the community a better place.

Last week Police Constables Ryan Stewart and Fraser Mortimer gave an insight into public order training. They were also available to speak to kids about any concerns or issues they may have.

PC Stewart said: “We are here and we want to be approachable. We want young kids to feel able to come up to us and not have that fear factor. We want them to tell us about any problems they have. I’ve been working in conjunction with the school officers going into primary and secondary schools as well and there are a lot of faces I’ve seen in the schools that are coming to these events. We want to get the message out that we are here and we need to work together.”

The sessions are funded through the CashBack for Communities fund, a unique Scottish Government programme that takes money seized from criminals under the proceeds of crime legislation and invests them into sporting, social and cultural projects.

Since 2008, £110 million recovered under the Proceeds of Crime Act has been committed to the CashBack for Communities Programme and other community initiatives.

The programme has funded over 2.5 million activities and opportunities for young people.

This aims to help young people build their confidence, develop their physical and personal skills and participate in an activity that improves their learning, employability and employment options.

Activities include rugby, dodgeball, boxing and bubble football as well as talks from local businesses and charities.

The sessions have been running since March 2 and are held every Wednesday this month from 6-8pm. Free food is served at every session.