Violence prevention experts in Leicestershire have secured an extra £934,683 to help steer young people away from crime and serious violence.
The Violence Reduction Network (VRN) has successfully bid for funding from the Home Office’s Serious Violence Youth Interventions Programme to support young people at high risk of being drawn into knife crime and violence throughout 2021-22.
The funding includes £319,259 for trauma-informed training to enable frontline Early Help professionals to improve their understanding of trauma experienced by the young people they work with and how they can adapt their practice to mitigate the impact of trauma on their lives.
Further funding worth £232,657 will deliver new in-reach intervention placing experienced ‘mentors’ in police custody to engage and support young people at a ‘teachable moment’ in their lives – a moment of crisis or vulnerability where they are more likely to accept support and address the multiple issues underpinning their behaviour.
The VRN has also been awarded £382,767 for a new targeted schools project enabling youth workers to offer young people at risk of exclusion support and intervention.
The Youth Endowment Fund are also considering additional funding for this project, as part of their grant round Another chance: diversion from the criminal justice system. The projects they’re taking forward will be announced in the coming weeks.
Responding to the announcement, Grace Strong, Strategic Director of the Violence Reduction Network, said: “I am delighted the Home Office supports our work and vision for preventing and reducing violence in Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland.
“Timely and effective intervention is critical if we are to prevent young people from becoming involved in violence. Our bids for funding were ambitious but the Home Office has clearly seen value in our approach and the potential of these interventions by committing this level of support.
“Through this funding, we will be able to support more vulnerable young people across the city and both counties and provide the professional help and services they need to open the door to opportunity and realise their full potential.”
Rupert Matthews, Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland Police and Crime Commissioner, added: “This funding is great news and will ensure those at risk of a life of crime can receive the rehabilitation and attention they need early doors - before it is too late.
“I’ve made it clear since my election that preventing violence, particularly knife crime, is a top priority. The only reasonable way to break the cycle and stop a new generation of weapon carriers on our streets is to divert them from harm at the earliest opportunity. This funding will help us to make a difference.”
Nationally, the Home Office is investing £17m in early intervention and preventative activity to support young people at high risk of involvement in serious violence.
The funding was available to all Violence Reduction Units across England and Wales which bring partner agencies together to address the underlying causes of violence.