LETTER : Cantona's service to Salford

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The Independent Online
From Ms Beverley Thompson

Sir: Your editorial (19 April) "An own goal for Cantona?" is right not only in endorsing community service as a more appropriate penalty than prison for the errant footballer, but also in its support for the kind of work involved.

Nacro has a particular interest in this case. Our Salford Youth Activities Unit runs a football project which has been allocated 40 hours of Cantona's time. The Salford Football Community Link project helps low-income communities set up junior football clubs which are run by local volunteers. Resources are always limited and for us, Eric Cantona is a priceless resource.

Making reparation is the essence of community service and this is what teaching soccer skills for 120 hours to youngsters from inner-city areas of Salford will achieve. It is demanding and timeconsuming and carries with it attendant publicity that must act as a constant reminder of the original offence.

More than that, however, by offering coaching opportunities to young people from less affluent communities - yesterday's team came from an estate with no facilities, "not even a playground" according to their coach - Cantona is giving something uniquely valuable and exciting and an experience that will long be remembered.

Yours faithfully,

BEVERLEY THOMPSON

Director

Prison, Resettlement, Race

and Training Services

Nacro

London, SW9

19 April

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