A three-year funding boost will see Bath & North East Somerset Council receive a share of more than £5 million to help children and young people at risk of becoming involved in violent crime.
B&NES Council has secured a share of £5.08 million from the Home Office, awarded to the five Violence Reduction Units (VRUs) across Avon and Somerset over the next three years for violence reduction initiatives.
Bath and North East Somerset has been awarded £178,000 for the first year, subject to a successful bid to the Home Office via the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner (OPCC), with amounts for future years to be agreed.
The funding has been allocated to the Avon and Somerset Violence Reduction Team within the OPCC, which devolves funding to the five local authorities delivering violence reduction initiatives across the area.
In previous funding rounds, successful initiatives in the district which addressed the response to serious violence included a lived experience Peer Mentoring Scheme in partnership with Southside.
The project aimed to positively influence the behaviour of children who had been exploited, or who were involved or at risk of involvement in serious violence.
The B&NES VRU also ran an Education Inclusion Project and a Detached Youth Work project in partnership with DHI Project 28 and Youth Connect South West.
Grant funding was also made available for community projects that are working towards preventing children from becoming involved in violence. 11 projects were successful in securing the funding last year.
Councillor Dine Romero, cabinet member for Children and Young People, Communities and Culture, said: “Addressing violent crime means intervening with specialist help at the right moment in a child or young person’s life, diverting them away from a future of violence and trauma.
“It’s welcome news that funding has been secured over the next three years to reduce the risk of becoming involved in violent crime that many children in B&NES face.
“This money will mean that initiatives provided going forwards will be sustainable and will continue to make a real difference.”
Penny McKissock, Southside CEO, said: “We welcome the investment in the Violence Reduction Unit for B&NES as there is a clear need for targeted support for young people at risk of involvement in serious violence.
“The VRU provided the opportunity for Southside to pilot a more radical approach to peer mentoring through a new lived experience programme, training community-based peer mentors who have recovered or moved on from the impact of serious violence.
“The investment in this development and other programmes will help young people in communities to build resilience, understanding and confidence to manage conflict, cope with peer pressure and have a greater sense of control in their lives.”