Efforts to divert local children and young people away from violent crime was at the centre of a recent bid that has been awarded over £460,000 from the Home Office’s Early Intervention Youth Fund.
The bid was successfully submitted by Avon and Somerset Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) Sue Mountstevens, in partnership with leading children’s charity Barnardo’s.
The new service will work with Learning Partnership West to target children and young people in the area who are at risk of becoming perpetrators or victims of crime.
The integrated three-layer service will tackle root causes of serious violence by improving resilience and safety through:
- Direct interventions for individual children and young people to prevent crime and support with evidence led prosecutions of perpetrators targeting children;
- Support and strengthen the family system as a protective resource;
- Involve and educate communities, improving identification and prevention.
As part of the service, engagement workers will work directly with children and young people to offer conflict resolutions, mediation, tailored interventions and resilience building for families.
The engagement workers will also facilitate young person-led, positive activity groups, recruit peer role models and help build positive community links with policing and statutory services.
PCC Sue Mountstevens said: “I am delighted that we have been awarded £463,857 from the Home Office’s Early Intervention Youth Fund. The money will make a real difference in providing support to children and young people at risk and show them the positive life choices they can make.
“This service will allow us to work with children and their families to prevent young people from getting drawn into a life of crime in the first place as well as supporting those who have already offended to help steer them in a different, more positive direction.”
Barnardo’s CEO, Javed Khan, added: “We really welcome this vital funding, which will help us steer children and young people away from violet crime.
“We know that some young people are vulnerable to criminal exploitation – where they are coerced into illegal and dangerous activity –including so called “county lines” drugs trafficking.
“Barnardo’s specialist support helps young people turn their lives around. Working with police, schools, local authorities and the local community, we help young people build resilience, making healthy choices and work towards a positive future.”
Rachel Robinson, CEO at Learning Partnership West, said: “We are really pleased to be working with Barnardo’s and the PCC to deliver this work. Against a backdrop of national increases in youth serious violence, we believe that with the right support every young person can achieve their potential and successfully transition to adulthood.
“We look forward to making a positive impact on communities with this funding.”
The Home Office’s Early Intervention Youth Fund is designed to support projects that work with children and young people at risk of criminal involvement, organisations safeguarding those at risk of gang exploitation and county lines and those who have already offended.