A leading national charity focused on violence prevention is to visit an innovative local project led by the Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland Violence Reduction Network (VRN) and delivered in partnership with Leicester City Council and Leicestershire County Council. Senior leaders from the Youth Endowment Fund will visit the Reach Programme to meet the team and learn more about the ways they’ll support young people to divert them away from crime and serious violence.
Specially-trained youth workers from Leicester City Council and Leicestershire County Council are working in partnership with headteachers and safeguarding leads at six pilot schools.
Young people who have been or are at risk of exclusion or suspension as well as their families receive intensive emotional and practical support for six months.
The Reach Programme is co-funded by the Home Office and Youth Endowment Fund and is part of a suite of VRN preventative measures to help divert local young people away from crime and serious violence.
Youth Endowment Fund was established in March 2019 by children’s charity Impetus, with a £200m endowment and ten-year mandate from the Home Office to find out what works in preventing children and young people from becoming involved in violence.
One of just ten programmes funded through the Youth Endowment Fund’s ‘Diversion’ Funding Round, the Reach Programme will undergo robust and independent evaluation by a team from Sheffield Hallam University.
Paul Twocock, the Youth Endowment Fund’s Director of Change said: “The Youth Endowment Fund (YEF) has invested £18 million in ten different projects that offer children another chance, through alternatives to arrest, conviction and custody. And we’re delighted to be visiting Reach, one of the projects that offers this kind of support, through its evidence-led programme of mentoring and social skills training.
We’re committed to finding out more about diversion from the criminal justice system, because evidence shows that these kinds of programmes have real potential to support the children and young people most at risk of becoming involved in violence by offering them support at key turning points in their lives. We’re funding some of the most promising projects – like the Reach programme – to undertake rigorous, independent evaluations, so that we can find what kind of diversionary support works best to keep children safe. With Reach and our other partners, we’ll help others to put what we learn into practice. That way, even more children can benefit from the knowledge we gather together.”