An Accrington Stanley midfielder has been unveiled as the first player ambassafor for a new violence reduction programme aimed at young people.

Sean McConville has signed up to be ambassador for the Champions programme run by Accrington Stanley Community Trust and Lancashire Violence Reduction Network.

The programme has been created by Lancashire VRN in partnership with nine community football clubs across the county, aimed at young people aged 10 to 25 with experience of, or who are at risk of, offending behaviours.

Champions mentors across Lancashire work with young people to help them achieve their potential through relevant activities, support services and opportunities.  

Champions mentor, Millie Hall, said: “A handful of young people were invited in during half-term to take part in activities at the hub.

"Whilst playing a game of FIFA, a group of first team players pulled up chairs and sat and interacted with the boys, making their morning!

"I'm grateful to Sean for lending us his time. Just a short conversation with him and his teammates had the young people reflecting on their actions.

"After seeing the effect this short interaction had on our clients, I was keen to explore the opportunity for further player interactions." 

After a discussion with David Clarke, VRN Champions programme manager, the decision was made to try and get a player involved as an ambassador to further support the programme and continue having positive interactions.  

Stanley is the first club out of nine to have a player ambassador, with McConville, 34, hopefully the first of many to get involved.

Ms Hall added: "The hope is that this appointment will inspire other clubs to get involved.” 

McConville, 34, who is now into his 11th season at Stanley having played almost 450 games, said: "Being the Social Inclusion Ambassador is a great honour.

"It is great to see the work the Community Trust carries out in the local community. This programme allows the young people to reflect on their behaviour and, with the help of the mentors, make a positive change to their lives.

"I look forward to seeing more young people in the local area benefiting from this programme.”