The Home Office has awarded the Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) for Thames Valley £822,000 from its Early Intervention Youth Fund to help tackle youth violence, vulnerability and exploitation across Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire.
The funding, which runs until March 2020, will deliver a four tiered programme of work aiming to prevent young people being exploited into violence and offending through gangs and county lines drug dealing.
The Office of the PCC is leading on the programme in partnership with a range of organisations across the Thames Valley including Community Safety Partnerships (CSPs), Youth Offending Teams (YOTs), Substance Misuse Services, Local Authorities and Secondary Schools.
The programme will include four tiers of intervention:
- Raising awareness in all secondary schools across the Thames Valley. This may include a knife crime/youth violence workshop sessions for young people and training for teachers and other professionals.
- Support for teachers and schools in tackling school exclusions, providing specialist support such as youth workers, YOT workers and Speech and Language Therapists within approximately a third of secondary schools.
- Detached youth work to support and provide opportunities for young people who are not in education or employment and who are not engaging in mainstream services.
- Targeted engagement with young people already involved in gangs and knife crime, providing intensive support including access to therapies and skills training.
Anthony Stansfeld, Police and Crime Commissioner said “We are delighted to have been awarded this funding for the Thames Valley. It provides the opportunity to make a tangible impact on the lives of young people and communities; tackling youth violence both in areas where knife crime, violence and county lines are existing issues as well as areas with emerging threat where early intervention can make a huge difference in changing the trajectory of individual’s lives.
“Partnership working has been key to the success of our bid and will continue to be key in its delivery. My office has worked extensively with partners from across the Thames Valley to identify local needs and how we can work collaboratively to address them. This is just the beginning of the programme and this partnership approach will continue throughout the delivery phase over the next two years”.
The Early Intervention Youth Fund programme will be managed by the Office of the PCC with individual projects delivered and monitored locally by partner organisations. A programme coordinator will be recruited by the Office of the PCC, providing a single point of contact for partners.