CHILDREN will get the chance to participate in workshops aimed at preventing them from entering into a life of crime and exploitation.

Bracknell Forest Children's Social Care and Reading FC have joined forced to deliver Positive Pathways, a programme for young people at risk of being excluded from school.

Schoolchildren will get to take part in classroom-based workshops with football coaching sessions.

Each workshop is themed and features guest speakers who talk from experience about the realities of drug addiction, prison life and gangs.

Nick Young, exploitation prevention manager at Bracknell Forest Council, said: "It’s great to be working with Reading FC Community Trust in bringing its innovative Positive Pathways programme into Bracknell schools.

"Having the Reading FC brand behind this really helps in connecting with the young people and the testimony of guest speakers with lived experience adds to the credibility of the messages.

"The links between school exclusion and child exploitation are clear and preventative work of this kind plays a vital part in safeguarding children”.

Positive Pathways will be delivered over a six week period to 12 year nine students at a local school and plans are expected to spread to other schools in the Borough.

The programme has already been rolled out at several secondary schools in Wokingham.

Cllr Dr Gareth Barnard, executive member for children, young people & earning, said: “We are pleased to be working together with Reading FC to tackle child exploitation in Bracknell Forest. "Positive Pathways presents a fresh way to reach young people at risk of school exclusion and exploitation.

"We are excited to see the positive effects this programme has and hope to see it expand to further schools in the borough.”