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Community groups receive £50,000 funding to tackle youth violence

Funding worth more than £50,000 is being invested into community groups across Leicestershire to help prevent young people falling into violence and knife crime.

Leicestershire’s Violence Reduction Network (VRN) – a multiagency initiative dedicated to preventing youth violence across Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland – has allocated grants of up to £5,000 each to 13 community and non-profit organisations to deliver mentorship-based programmes and initiatives which build the confidence and skills of young people at risk of getting involved in violence.

The VRN’s Community Fund amounts to a total of £57,006 and will expand opportunities to help and intervene in the lives of young people aged up to 25 who are at risk of becoming victims or perpetrators of violence.

Grace Strong, Director of Leicestershire’s VRN, said: “Communities want to play a role in our response to youth violence and are often the best placed to do so. This funding will empower grass-root community groups to make a difference to the lives of young people through guiding them to make safer and positive decisions.”

“We are keen to invest in these groups and work collaboratively with them to develop community responses to youth violence. We know from our review of the evidence-base that mentoring is a promising approach. We will therefore also be supporting these projects through providing learning and development opportunities relating to community mentoring”.

Leicestershire Police and Crime Commissioner Lord Willy Bach, chair of the VRN, added: “Every incident of violence or knife crime is one too many. As a team, we have launched a number of new projects to give young people the best chance of leading positive and safe lives. Where young people are already involved in violence, as victims or perpetrators, we will support them to take a new direction and break the cycle of violence.

“This funding recognises the valuable and powerful role our community partners can play in efforts to tackle youth violence. It is vital we continue to view young people affected by knife crime as victims in need of protection and support.”

The VRN received a total of 25 bids for funding and following a vigorous assessment process, 13 applications were approved. Projects must be completed by the end of March 2020.

Among the successful applicants was The Melton Learning Hub which received £5,000 for its Engage project which will deliver one-to-one mentoring to divert key individuals at risk of antisocial behaviour. The project will include intensive outreach work with cross border agencies.

Meanwhile, St Matthews Big Local (Leicester) has been allocated £4,975 for its Aspire Project which will engage young people through the delivery of sports activities and open up a pathway for mentorship, building self confidence among the young people and helping them to develop positive relationships and social skills.

The VRN was established in August 2019 following a successful application to the Home Office’s Serious Violence Fund, which resulted in an £880,000 grant. Further grant funding worth £880,000 has secured its work until March 2021.

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.


Notes to Editors:

The full list of grant recipients is below:

  • Women 4 Change (Street Mentor Project) £4,658

  • Outspoken (My Story) £1,200

  • The Urban Equestrian Academy (T.U.E.A) (The Rebel Riderz programme) £5,000

  • HCYC (Harborough District Children and Young People’s Charity) HCYC Youth Mentoring Development Project £3,697

  • 2Funky Arts (Belgrave Unite) £4,030

  • Goldhill Adventure Playground (Rise Above with GAP) £4,068

  • Somali Development Services CIC (Somali Development Services Mentoring Project) £4,931

  • Somali Community Parents Association (SOCOPA) (Space 4 youth Project) £4,970

  • Team Troupers Dance Academy CIC (Youth Café Project) £4,977

  • Phoenix Supplementary School (The Phoenix Community Mentoring) £4,500

  • The Melton Learning Hub (Engage Project) £5,000

  • Antoin Akpon Achievements Foundation (Intervention and Prevention Mentor Project) £5,000

  • St Matthews Big Local (Leicester) SMBLL (Aspire Project) £4,975

Media Enquiries: Sallie Blair - 01283 821012 / 07702 541401

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