Conservative leader David Cameron today expressed his support for a football programme for children living in areas of deprivation.
Mr Cameron visited Castle High School in Dudley to find out about a scheme run by the Wolverhampton Wanderers football club, which uses sport to educate nine to 11-year-olds about drugs and alcohol awareness, anti-social behaviour and career advice.
The aim of the project, called Dusk Twilight Midnight Leagues, is to get youngsters off the street and to provide a safe and fun environment for them to learn new skills.
Mr Cameron chatted to children involved in the project, which is also supported by West Midlands Police. He said: "I think this is a great programme. I think the capacity of sport to inspire young people, give them something to do and give them a purpose, is huge.
"I really applaud Wolves for this programme. You can see the enthusiasm of the kids which shows what a great programme this is."
Councillor Liz Walker, Cabinet member of children's services for Dudley Metropolitan Borough Council, said she was delighted that Mr Cameron had asked to visit the programme.
She said: "He is really interested in children's services and what we provide for young people and their families and seeking to improve the life choices of families like these. This is a very deprived part of Dudley."
Inspector Richard Jones, from West Midlands Police, said: "Lack of youth provision is a high priority in many neighbourhoods and boredom can often lead to anti-social behaviour and low level crime, such as criminal damage.
"The Leagues at Castle High School provide an ideal mix of sporting activity and educational workshops dealing with everyday issues."