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The Youth Endowment Fund aims to build and share knowledge of the best ways to support vulnerable young people during times of social distancing and to re-connect with young people at risk of being drawn into violent crime.
Safer Communities, in partnership Youth Focus North East, will deliver a program called Positive Pathways, which will use experienced and nationally qualified, detached youth workers to create credible and positive relationships with young people.
Working within a specific area in Middlesbrough where young people are demonstrating the most challenging behaviors, the program will provide a range of pop-up sport, music, social action, health and wellbeing activities for young people to get involved with.
Outcomes will take time and a key element to challenging and changing behaviours is developing a positive relationship with young people over a long period; Positive Pathways will achieve this through honest and politely challenging conversations to build the trust necessary for young people to feel confident and comfortable to participate meaningfully in the activities it will deliver.
From more than 1000 applications, Safer Communities and Youth Focus North East were one of 130 successful applicants across England and Wales. The Youth Endowment Fund was established in 2019 with a ten-year, £200m endowment from the Home Office to find what works to prevent children and young people from being drawn into violent crime. It funds and evaluates projects across England and Wales and builds support with others to put effective approaches into practice.
Jo Hodgkinson, Safer Communities Chief Executive, said ‘We are delighted to have been selected, it’s fantastic that the importance of investing in youth services long-term has been recognised. We look forward to having our project evaluated and shaping what works to prevent serious youth violence.
Young people need hope and aspiration in their lives and this program aims to raise aspirations beyond the gang and crime culture, showing young people there is an exciting alternative.’
Kevin Frank, Youth Focus North East Chief Executive said: “Youth Focus North East is delighted to be working collaboratively with Safer Communities on this vitally needed programme of support for some of our most at risk young people. This new investment will allow both organisations to provide a more coordinated offer of support to these young people. We are excited to get started.”
Jon Yates, Executive Director at Youth Endowment Fund, said: “It has been too easy to forget vulnerable young people during this crisis. The pandemic has removed much of the critical support that many of them rely upon – from teachers to youth workers -this funding will help us find the best way to reach and support these young people when they most need it.”