South Yorkshire is to receive £1,245,680 from the Home Office Early Intervention Fund for two projects to target young people at risk of becoming involved in crime.
Dr Alan Billings, South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner said: “This funding is extremely welcome. My office worked in partnership with the four local authorities – Sheffield, Rotherham, Doncaster and Barnsley – to help secure this funding. Both bids have been successful. This is unusual but reflects well on those who have worked to hard to put the bids together.
Barnsley, Doncaster and Rotherham
“Barnsley, Doncaster & Rotherham worked in partnership on a joint bid to tackle child criminal exploitation (CCE). In the past five years each of the three areas has experienced “County Lines” issues – where young people are targeted by criminal gangs and drawn into criminal activity.
“A South Yorkshire wide CCE strategy will be established, with the creation of a CCE hub at which young people at risk are identified and supported with appropriate interventions.
“There will be a CCE education offer to schools where CCE issues have been identified or where there is intelligence of organised crime groups working within the area.
“A team will be established to disrupt and prevent young people becoming involved in CCE. The team will be deployed in high risk areas based upon police intelligence.
“In Sheffield, funding will be allocated to the Universal Peer Education & Skills Based Programme to offer all secondary schools and year six pupils in targeted primary schools, a series of information and skills based sessions.
“The project will provide information to young people about CCE and the effects of knife and gun crime. Young people will be provided with information about how they can seek support if they are concerned about their own or others’ involvement. They will be provided with the knowledge and skills they need to keep them from getting involved in violent crime.
“A second project in Sheffield called ‘Targeted Youth Engagement Programme’ will deliver a targeted programme to young people aged 10-13 at risk of involvement in youth violence.
“The programme will be delivered in Broomhall, North East Sheffield, Manor Castle/Arbourthorne; Burngreave/Pitsmoor and Low Edges, where there is evidence that some young people are at risk of being groomed for gang involvement.
“This project will run on two evenings per week and engage with up to 60 young people and will be co-designed by the young people themselves. The programme will be led by Sheffield Futures in partnership with an anchor voluntary organisation within each community.
“This programme will aim to build young people’s resilience to a range of vulnerabilities associated with gang and youth violence and child criminal exploitation. It will deliver various social and personal development skills, as well as transition skills into the world of work; and can be accredited where appropriate.
“I am extremely grateful to the partners for the preparation of these bids submitted by my office to the early intervention fund. We are very fortunate to have been successful with both bids and to be able to start work immediately on educating young people and encouraging them away from crime and dangerous activity.
“Too many young people are choosing to carry weapons and are unaware of the dangers and consequences of being groomed into gang membership and criminal activity. This funding is a good start to ensure that the younger generation is made aware of these dangers before it becomes a way of life.”