Cast North West

Transforming young lives through angling

Sitting on the local restorative justice referral panel for youth offenders, Neil Farnworth saw his fair share of troubled young people come through the door. When he would ask them about their hobbies and interests, he was surprised how many would cite fishing. A keen angler himself, their responses planted a seed of an idea, one which would later grow to become Cast North West.

Set up in 2006, Cast North West uses angling as a tool to divert young people away from anti-social behaviour and crime. However, two things became quickly evident in setting up the organisation: the oversubscribed sessions and growing waiting list demonstrated the demand, popularity and effectiveness of using fishing as a tool to engage the most troubled of young people. And secondly, British weather wasn’t conducive to year-round, outdoor activities!

“There’s been a massive transition over the three years since we joined Sported.”

    To overcome the worst of the weather and increase their capacity, Neil and his team raised funds to build the UK’s first indoor fishery, complete with stocked ponds, classrooms, a canteen and office. The facilities enabled Cast to expand their offering to incorporate work-based skills, fisheries management qualifications, and also other activities such as horticulture and dry-stone walling.

How Sported helped

Sported volunteer mentoring

Neil and Cast North West became a member in 2013 and he was soon paired with Sported volunteer Dave Walton to help him take forward his vision for the charity.

With a wealth of management experience and connections, Dave worked closely with Neil on a broad range of operational issues – acting as a sounding board for ideas and helping him plan and prioritise actions.

“Having someone to ask the questions, someone to guide you through and give you that experience has been a god send and made things a lot easier” says Neil.

Dave Walton, Sported volunteer:

“Neil as a person has developed into a far more confident project manager than he was. He always had it in him, but it was more about helping him break tasks down and opening his eyes to how he could expand Cast North West quickly, whilst minimising the associated risks. It’s helped him make decisions, get the right people around him and we’re now beginning to realise the huge potential Neil and the charity have.”


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