It's said that any great movement can be traced back to a single conversation. In 1998, a single conversation between a London based Independent publisher and a Huddersfield based youth worker resulted in the securing of two years of funding for a pilot project that would harness the popularity of sport as a means of engaging young people. CUP as it has become known, was established by its two current directors Paul Lewis & Lesley Steel who, from its inception, have championed the crucial link between providing activities for young people and the provision of volunteering and developing opportunities for adults.
In areas where higher rates of crime, drugs and alcohol misuse, unemployment and educational underachievement combine to reduce the life chances and aspirations of young people – the ages 8-16 are a crucial time for providing positive interventions and widening perceptions of life choices. Initially through football, CUP- often by suggestion from clients or volunteers – has developed a number of initiatives in other sports as well as music, arts, dance & drama. CUP also works with schools to offer support and advice to teachers and develop both curriculum and after-school activities.
CUP attributes its success to its holistic approach to working with communities in areas of deprivation that are often characterised by high rates of anti-social behaviour and a perceived lack of community cohesion. CUP approaches working in any new area from the point of view that the best solutions are found from within, recognising that local residents themselves have an abundance of untapped knowledge and skills. CUP works to empower local adult volunteers by providing support and resources that enable them to acquire the skills to develop activities for young people in the communities.