Can pigeons help errant youngsters to aim higher?
Last updated at 7:41 AM on 14th June 2011
How do you make geography, maths and biology fascinating for troubled teenagers who have been kicked out school?
The answer, apparently, is pigeons.
Police believe turning young yobs into pigeon fanciers could help turn their lives around.
'You mess about and the birds get upset': Police hope teaching tearaway youngsters to race pigeons will help them stay on the straight and narrow
The routine of caring for the birds, as well as racing them all over Britain, is said to give errant youngsters discipline as well as practical knowledge of the lessons they are missing at school.
The scheme, known as the Flying High Project, hopes to divert troublesome teens from becoming involved in anti-social behaviour.
PC Mick Tune, 44, a lifelong pigeon fancier, is sharing his expertise with youngsters in North Lincolnshire who have been expelled and are ‘at risk of offending’.
PC Tune, who has a coop in his garden in Epworth, near Doncaster, believes pigeons have the power to keep teenagers on the straight and narrow.
‘The kids can be a handful at school but when they come here it’s different,’ he said.
‘You mess about and the birds get upset. You have to get up in the morning, and you have to feed and water them otherwise the team isn’t going to function properly.
'It gives them a chance to learn new life skills and make new friendships.
‘In addition to the practical side of the care and maintenance of the team, the project is able to cover more academic issues such as maths, geography and biology through the medium of the racing pigeons.’
Flying High Project: The five week course aims to divert youngsters from anti-social behaviour (posed by models)
Olly Thomas, 16, who is taking part in the five-week course, said: ‘I got chucked out of school because I kept disrupting classes. I have done a couple of bad things but I have turned myself round.’
Olly, who is training to be a painter and decorator, added: ‘All of my life I have taken pigeons for granted. But when you see them in races you start to treat them with respect.’
The scheme is funded by the Royal Racing Pigeon Association and the Humberside Tribune Trust.
Share this article:
Here's what readers have had to say so far. Why not add your thoughts below, or debate this issue live on our message boards.
The comments below have not been moderated.
Nothing worse than a plagues of these flying rats accumulating around housing estates.
- Frank, Dublin, 14/6/2011 11:59
Kids have been going off the rails for the last 100 years at least if social history is anything to go by. What I'm saying is: PCs, governments, councils up and down the country need to realise kids need to be doing things in groups preferably. Sports are always good because fit kids are happy kids with greater self-esteem; they socialise better and are less likely to be bullied. Pigeon rearing is not bad in itself but when used to counter anti-social behaviour tends to focus much-needed resources on the individual and is not as group-intensive or competitive as sports, nor as life-enhancing as for example keeping allotments or doing first-aid.
- colin, wales, 14/6/2011 11:21
Colin, look around you, the kids are going off the rails left right and centre, with regards to hospitals having people arriving with emphysema, the kids today are going to be lucky to arrive later in life, most will have been snuffed out with knife or gun crime or be in prison for doing it to someone else, but saying that everyones entitled to their own opinion, my point was this pc is trying, so why knock the guy or is it you just dont like coppers?
- the voice of reason, france, 14/6/2011 10:25
Voice of reason, France, no probs - pigeon rearing is OK but too much individualistic. If it became a majority national pastime our towns would soon be knee deep in pigeon droppings and our hospitals full of people suffering from emphysema. Btw, having raised one or two pennies and worked as a volunteer for kids causes (a family tradition going back at least 70 years to my great grandfather I'm proud to add), I have seen first hand what works and what flops; more importantly, unlike you, I do have a bit more faith in the vast majority of our kids.
- colin, wales, 14/6/2011 09:47
Colin your the idiot, 2 many kids these days have no respect for animals and have no interest in anythng, i myself had my elders racing pigeons when i was younger and i was also drawn in to it, this taught me various things, i have grown up respecting animals and it gave me focus in life to go on and have a good life, this pc is trying, what are you doing apart from sat in your chair moaning at people that make an effort
- the voice of reason, france, 14/6/2011 08:49
What a good idea. Activities like this drive home the usefulness of school lessons and make them relevant to everyday life. I still don't see the point of algebra though.
- Too Many Idiots Running the Country, England, 14/6/2011 08:35
The views expressed in the contents above are those of our users and do not necessarily reflect the views of MailOnline.