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Summer on the streets
As the summer holiday season begins, a host of project are being organised for young people with the aim of promoting good behaviour and providing an alternative to drink, drugs and antisocial behaviour.
For the first time in Scotland, Street Athletics will take place in Edinburgh, Glasgow, Shotts, Dundee, Stranraer and Inverness. The final will be hosted in Dundee on September 8.
Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill said:
"As our young people put school behind them for a few weeks, it's important that the long summer days and nights provide them with opportunities as well as time on their hands. Many will spend quality time with parents, with friends, or on holiday. But there will some some in our more disadvantaged communities where opportunities are fewer and risks of antisocial behaviour greater.
"That's why we are encouraging and supporting more activities this summer to provide opportunities for them. I know that there will be many local schemes run through councils but we are also supporting new national initiatives this year.
"The Street Athletics events are a great example of the type of project that we can invest in to give young people a fun and challenging event that also gives them a chance to try out athletics - it may even help to uncover some of the stars of the future.
"I hope these kinds of events can offer our young people an enjoyable summer holiday and encourage them to take up a new activity or sport, be it athletics, photography, drama or football. Activities that build self-esteem and develop the sense of personal responsibility we need in our citizens.
"I know that the vast majority of youngsters don't offend. That's why we must promote good behaviour as well as punish bad. I have already announced that we will reinvest money confiscated from criminals in better services and activities which can make a real difference to young people's lives. I hope to announce more details of that later this year."
Louise Macdonald, Deputy Chief Executive at Young Scot, the national youth information charity, said:
"For some young people, there are fewer and fewer opportunities to be physically active, often with negative results on their own fulfillment and health.
"Young Scot fully supports all projects which help young people get out, have fun, take part in something they enjoy and possibly even helps them reach their full potential. Something like Street Athletics is a great way for all young people to get involved in sports and other activities in their local area."