Ground-breaking work across Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland to prevent young people and adults from being drawn into serious violence has been pledged funding by Government for the next three years.
Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland Police and Crime Commissioner Rupert Matthews has been lobbying the Home Office for longer-term funding for the city and two counties’ Violence Reduction Network (VRN) which is a partnership of groups, organisations and communities that have designed and are now delivering a range of innovative programmes to prevent and reduce serious violence.
Minister of State for Crime, Policing and Probation Kit Malthouse MP has now confirmed to Mr Matthews that the VRN will be eligible to apply for more than £3.5 million to support existing and new programmes over the next three years.
The funding pledge coincides with the publication of independent evaluation of the VRN and VRUs’ work across the UK.
In Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland, the research by Ipsos MORI commenelivery of seven interventions reaching an estimated 5,996 young people as well as 38 community projects supporting violence reduction or prevention reaching a further 2,500 young people
Good engagement with young people and communities through such initiatives as a community leadership programme, feedback from young people and setting up a community panel
Strong multi-agency partnership working and shared vision leading to cultural change, reduced duplication of efforts and resources, a consistent approach and strong UK-wide links
Work done to establish data sharing, monitoring and evaluation across police, hospital, youth justice, probation and education which enables the VRN to react to emerging issues
Strong focus on learning and evaluation
Strong uptake on programmes including trauma-informed training
PCC Mr Matthews said: “The partners involved through the local Violence Reduction Network and the Home Office all agree that it is important that the work already underway in preventing serious violence in our local communities needs to be sustainable if it is to have a long-term impact."
“I have been advocating for a longer-term funding settlement to be in place and am delighted to have the commitment from the Home Office that the VRN will be eligible to apply for a multi-year grant agreement."
“This is an important step forward to enable the VRN to forge ahead with its robust planning, delivery and evaluation of the programmes that are essential to improving the lives of young people and to making our local communities safer places to live, work and enjoy.”
Violence Reduction Units and Networks bring together specialists from a range of sectors including health, education, criminal justice, local authorities and communities to address the underlying causes of violence.
Mr Matthews continued that galvanising all parts of the public sector lay at the heart of many of the initiatives to tackle serious violence.
“The VRN adopts this very approach and we’re seeing some extremely encouraging signs of progress. The whole-system approach is part of the longer-term strategy to understand and tackle the root causes of serious violence – not limited to preventing individual occurrences.”
Welcoming the funding boost, VRN Director Grace Strong said: “This is fantastic news for the VRN. We have a strong and collaborative local partnership which has worked hard to design and deliver evidence-informed strategies and interventions to address the causes of serious violence locally."
“We know that the causes of violence are multiple and complex and whilst we can and do deploy strategies which have a short-term impact, we also need a range of longer-term preventative measures which will tackle the root causes."
“This vital longer-term funding will enable us to take our work to the next level and secure a sustainable legacy for the young people and communities of Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland.”
Since launching in August 2019, the local VRN has delivered vital support to young people at risk of violence through a range of interventions, projects and initiatives.
Successful work has included:
In depth analysis of multi-agency data to improve strategic planning and target resources to those most at risk and ‘what works’ evidence reviews to ensure local services are as effective as possible
Partnership working with schools including the introduction of Mentors in Violence Prevention (MVP) and the Reach programme for pupils at risk of exclusion in secondary schools
The introduction and extension of the Violence Intervention Project (VIP) in A&E departments and police custody to offer timely and tailored support to young people involved in violence
The Unlocking Potential project focussed on providing young people at risk of violence with concrete and credible training and employment opportunities
Awareness raising and bystander campaigns co-designed with young people to equip them with the knowledge and confidence to make positive choices
The Live Safe resources website for young people and parents/carers providing information and advice on issues relating to keeping young people safe
Collaborative working with local communities including through the Youth Involvement Fund and the Community Leadership Programme
Comprehensive workforce development programmes for local providers including the Trauma-Informed Practice training programme.
Nationally, the Home Office states that the whole-system approach to tackling violent crime is working with 49,000 violent offences prevented across England and Wales in areas operating VRU/VRN and ‘hotspot policing’ initiatives.
Media enquiries: Sarah Jenkin-Jones, JJPR, Tel: 01332 515102/07951 945665