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VRN Puts Young People Centre Stage in Development of Violence Prevention Solutions

Local young people will be sharing their experiences, views and solutions with a partnership tasked with preventing and reducing serious violence across Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland.

The Violence Reduction Network (VRN) has awarded grants totalling £71,500 to eight different community-based organisations to enable them to expand their innovative activities with young people aged 11 to 24 including those affected by crime.

As part of the activities programme, the young people will help develop future work by the VRN and design a framework that will embed youth involvement in future community-based programmes.

The community and voluntary organisations involved are:

  • Leicester arts organisation Pedestrian will deliver a programme entitled STAND UP with young people in Leicester city – using art, media and music to help young people create campaigns to highlight the dangers and consequences of involvement in crime.

  • St Matthews Big Local community organisation will organise weekend activities and educational workshops and mentoring to disaffected young people in the area.

  • The E2 community hub in the city will further develop its youth form with a focus on violence prevention which will be a key aspect of its youth sessions – combining debate about issues affecting young people with a programme of activities.

  • Team Hub, based in the city’s New Parks, will also set up a youth forum to give local young people a voice.

  • Local charity, Leicestershire Cares will hold a series workshops to explore young people’s experiences of violence, its causes and potential solutions to inform VRN’s work going forward.

  • Go Getta, which supports young people and communities across Leicestershire, plans to hold a weekly youth club in Loughborough as well as outreach work in anti social behaviour hotspots to engage young people in positive activities.

  • Leicester’s Women for Change will further support their young mentors to work with others affected by crime and design an education project to inform and support younger children.

  • The city’s Somali Community Parents Association (SOCOPA) will deliver workshops and sports activities to engage young people – tackling a wide range of community safety issues.

Grace Strong, Strategic Director of the VRN, said: “The Violence Reduction Network (VRN) is an alliance of organisations, groups and communities that believe violence is preventable and through working together in tackling its root causes, we can make Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland safer for our young people and communities.

“Young people are often most affected by serious violence and can offer invaluable insights and identify some of solutions most likely to work. We know that this can really improve the relevance and reach of services and other initiatives such as campaigns.

“The focus of the Youth Involvement Fund is to ensure that young people are involved in all aspects of our work both now and in the future.

“We recognise that community organisations who already work with young people are in the ideal position to work in partnership with us on this project.

“We look forward to working closely with the successful organisations to amplify youth voice and influence locally and nationally, co-produce solutions and build a sustainable youth involvement framework which will ensure young people remain central to local responses to violence for years to come.”

Leicestershire Police and Crime Commissioner Rupert Matthews concluded: “We know that young people are most likely to be affected by serious violence and so it is crucial that we actively listen to their experiences and views and involve them in the design of solutions.

“I am delighted that the VRN will be partnering with these eight organisations - all of which already hold positive relationships with young people - and I’m sure will be an asset to this aspect of the VRN’s work.”

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