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Community-based projects set to share £50,000 to mentor young people at risk of violence

A new funding stream initially worth £50,000 has been unveiled by Leicestershire’s new dedicated Violence Reduction Network (VRN) to expand the community work taking place to tackle violence and knife crime.

Mentoring based programmes and initiatives which build the confidence and skills of young people at risk of getting involved in violence could benefit from small grants of up to £5,000 under the organisation’s new Community Fund, it has been revealed.

The VRN was established in August this year following a successful application to the Home Office’s Serious Violence Fund, which resulted in an £880,000 grant.

The VRN brings together multi-agency partners and communities from across Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland to coordinate the local response to serious violence, adopting a public health approach focusing on prevention.

One of its core aim is to build capacity among communities to support young people achieve better outcomes for their lives, particularly young people up to the age of 25 who engage in or are at risk of violence and knife crime.

The Community Fund will support projects which engage with young people at a grassroots level, challenge negative behaviour and attitudes and equip them with the skills and confidence needed to make safer lifestyle decisions.

Grace Strong, Director of Leicestershire’s VRN, said: “The roots of violence run deep. It’s imperative we improve the mental, emotional and physical health of our young people and unravel the life experiences and circumstances that drive some to lash out in anger or revenge.

“There is already fantastic work underway to support young people across Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland and give them opportunities to alter course. We believe in the power of prevention and diversion and we want to arm our communities with the tools they need to help vulnerable and impressionable young people to live safer and more fulfilling lives.”

Lord Willy Bach, chair of the VRN, added: “Everybody deserves a chance to become the best version of themselves, whatever their start in life. Young people need trusted and respected role models, as well as patience and compassion, to stop them taking the wrong turn.

“We will be looking to our community partners to fill any gaps where opportunity is lacking and give young people an alternative future to violence. This is a chance to help make a difference to young lives and the future safety of our county.”

The VRN is inviting applications from projects which focus on one or more types of prevention including primary prevention, which works with young people to prevent violence occurring in the first place, secondary prevention, which involves intervening early where there are concerns around violence to prevent escalation, and tertiary prevention, which is work targeted towards the rehabilitation of those already impacted by violence as victim or perpetrator.

Project bids should also include an element of community or peer mentoring and a willingness to work with the VRN to develop a model which can be adopted by other groups and organisations.

Projects must be delivered between 1st January 2020 and 31st March 2020 and the deadline for applications is December 17th. Successful applicants will be notified by December 30th 2019.


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