YOUNG offenders are being helped to turn their lives around with football coaching from Guiseley AFC's Community Foundation.

The foundation has launched an ambitious programme of coaching sessions in the Youth Offender Institution at Wetherby. The scheme is being run in conjunction with PE staff at the institution and with Novus – Foundations for Change, which helps bring education, training and employment opportunities to people in prison. The project is being supported by the foundation's sponsor Golley Slater PRM.

Former Guiseley central defender, academy and community coach Danny Ellis is running sessions at HMYOI Wetherby for an initial 12 week programme. He is working with a group of up to 16 young men, taking them through rigorous football training sessions building to sports leader qualifications or FA Level 1 coaching badges. It is hoped the nationally recognised qualifications will allow the young men to rebuild their lives when they are released back into the community.

Mr Ellis said: "I am really looking forward to the experience and challenge that this new venture brings. Guiseley Academy are always on the lookout for new players and there may be some unrecognised talent within this group that we can accommodate whilst assisting them in their future education."

Steve Taylor, community development manager added: "This is a fantastic opportunity to expand the work of the Foundation in a completely new area and thus help spread the name of Guiseley AFC to a wider community. We are also looking at ways in which the participants can be offered work experience opportunities to ease them back in the world of work and/ or education."

Paul Brown, head of PE at the institution said: "I am always looking at new initiatives and ways of creating new opportunities for the young people in our care. The programme that Guiseley community foundation are offering will be an ideal opportunity for the young people to learn new skills and create a pathway for them back into the community."

Steve Byrne, Novus head of education at HMYOI Wetherby said: "This is a wonderful opportunity for our young people to receive quality coaching from a well-respected player. Working with Guiseley AFC Community Foundation gives us both the opportunity to support young people in turning their lives around."

Justice Minister Dr Phillip Lee said: "I am delighted that Guiseley AFC will be working at Wetherby to support young offenders and give them skills that will help them lead more constructive lives on release.

"I want to make sure young people are given positive opportunities to improve their prospects, which is why I have commissioned a review to better understand how sport can help offenders in custody."