"As a former Minister for Justice, and as the current Chairman of the Youth Justice Board, I know all too well that there is no one silver bullet which can be deployed in the battle to prevent offending and re-offending behaviour.

Nevertheless, there is much evidence from both home and abroad that sport can
offer a gateway out of a life of crime.

The wide range of sporting activities mean that almost everyone can find a sport which gives them a buzz. That is why I became an Ambassador for 2nd Chance and their National Alliance of Sport for the Desistance of Crime.

Many of those who commit crimes go on to re-offend when they’re released from custody. Often it’s because rehabilitative work done during their sentence to address the root causes of their behaviour – be it substance abuse, a toxic family environment, illiteracy, mental health issues, or they themselves being a victim of crime – unravels through lack of continued support when they return to the community.

Those who build a link with a particular sport very often find that they have also discovered that, through it, they can also find the support system they need to help them live crime-free lives.

But rehabilitation is only one aspect through which sports can contribute to divert people from crime. Upstream, ahead of any entry in to the criminal justice system, there are often vital points in a young person’s life at which, if they’d had the right support to help overcome their difficulties or the right intervention to address a problem they themselves could not overcome, or the right person to talk to in their lives who could show them another way, they could have been prevented from committing crimes in the first place.

This is where the work of the National Alliance of Sport for the Desistance of Crime (NASDC) does exactly what it says on the tin. It unites a wide range of partners who use sports to transform the lives of those who most need that second chance to get their lives back on the right track.

Between them, the NASDC’s partners have the vital skills, expertise and the national reach to provide some real life-changing opportunities to offenders and to those on the cusp of offending; the kinds of opportunities that many of us take for granted. So I encourage you to join us on this much needed journey to help some of the most vulnerable people in our country today. Working together we can make real strides in preventing criminal behaviour; in sparing future victims the trauma of experiencing crime; and in supporting those who can make a positive contribution to society."

The Rt. Hon. The Lord McNally