Non-angler

Councillor Jean O’Donnell on the re-development of Charlton's pond.

Charlton's Pond's falling somewhere between a park and a civic amenity. Until parks and gardens wake up and realise this, we’ll still have this small anomaly. The youngsters got interested in the fishing here and before you knew it, their dads were coming along, their fathers. It’s is like top seed, it’s growing and it’s absolutely marvellous. It’s the community engagement as much as anything. Once that’s caught up things seem to flow from there, the interest grows, offshoots, just from grabbing their interest initially, and that will be like a nucleus to start it off.

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Councillor Mrs Jean O’Donnell on the tranquillity of angling

There’s a certain discipline with regard to fishing. It’s not one of your wild activities. There's something really rather pleasant and calming about it which I think has an effect on the psyche. Water is particularly good for people, even just looking at water or listening to it. I think it appeals to something deep inside us, the tranquillity and the oneness with nature that you don’t always get. You can stop and think about things. You can unwind. You can unwind at the riverside. Not that youngsters have much to unwind. But I like this idea, it calms their mind.

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Family intervention worker, on GHOF and the importance of role models

I think angling intervention programs like GHOF work because young people are getting appropriate role models. Sometimes a lot of these kids haven’t got a father figure that may be appropriate. Parents often themselves have lots of complex issues and they try to deal with their own problems, they’re not always available for he kids. The young people coming along here to GHOF, they get one to one and I think that is key for them, that they’ve got somebody that’s appropriate, and they get attention.

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Local Mum, on the benefits of fishing spaces like Charlton’s Pond, Billingham.

Fishing spaces like Charlton’s Pond are absolutely brilliant. It's even good for the parents to have a spare half hour to chill out. Every time there’s a junior match on we come down. Sometimes it’s a bit difficult to stay the full time, but we try and stay as much as we can. But I think most of the time the kids like to see you there. I’ve never fancied angling myself, but it’s nice sometimes just to sit and watch them fish, it's relaxing. The only problem here is for the girls, there’s nowhere to go to the loo.

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Local Mum, on the positive atmosphere at Charlton’s Pond, Billingham.

Charlton's Pond is ideal for the kids that are local, because a lot of them can come on their bikes or walk. We’re just so chuffed that it’s something for the kids to do and it’s inexpensive. The good thing about it is everybody’s interested, even if they haven’t caught anything. Everyone’s interested in walking around and seeing what everyone else has done. It’s a nice atmosphere. There were two twins that used to fish quite often, and obviously they get to a certain age, and with this being junior, they don’t fish the matches anymore, but it was nice to watch. You could see them growing up.

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Lynne, Teacher (Shropshire) on the positive impact on student behaviour

Angling helps with behaviour, it certainly reaches students who may be misfits, loners, who don't have lots of friends, and are quiet. Angling gives them somewhere they can achieve, it helps them to fit in but it’s not only for them, it’s also for your well adapted student. It’s such a subtle thing, it’s something you can’t measure, but angling certainly has an impact. Teachers will say that a child will behaved better because he knows he’s going fishing tomorrow, or he comes in talking about his fishing and then he gets on with his work.

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Mark, Teacher (Crewe) on opportunities for intergenerational engagement

Angling works because at the end of the day education is about building positive relationships. Mainstream sport does engage a lot of disaffected kids but it’s not necessarily the be all and end of it. They’ll play football, they’ll play basketball, and they’ll play rounders and all this sort of thing and they’ll represent the school, but that’s part of a team ethic. Angling offers a little bit more than that because to an extent you are mixing with lots and lots of different adults in lots of different ways.

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Mark, Teacher (Crewe), on raising student aspirations

We've found angling courses have improved student behaviour in school because they feel they have something to works towards. These students are not always successful in school, because education doesn’t necessarily provide for them and that’s why we’re always looking for different ways to engage them and say look there is a future out there for you. Angling intervention courses impact on school lessons because the more switched on the students are the more they are likely to learn.

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Sarah, who has a son with cerebral palsy, talks about fishing at Albrighton Moat & Gardens

It's not far from where we live and a nice day out for Dylan - because, obviously, he can't do a lot. It's nice and quiet here and especially like this on a day when the weather's nice, it's very relaxing. He gets to look at the fish, feel the fish, and interact with the other children.

Sergeant Smith (Shropshire), on building relationships with young people

What angling does is give you time to sit there and chat to young people. We do football sessions, but the difference with football is that you are there with them for an hour, you’re running around, it’s a good laugh and they enjoy themselves but there’s little engagement. Whereas if you’re sat 5 or 6 hours next to some lad, trying to teach them how to fish, you start talking about all sorts of things and they start to see this man I used to see walking round in that police jacket, actually he is human. We have seen huge reductions in anti-social behaviour in Meole Brace year on year.
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