Home Office doubles size of Early Intervention Youth Fund to £22m

By Tristan Donovan

| 30 July 2018

The Home Office has doubled the amount of money it intends to hand out to local youth projects that seek to steer young people away from violent crime to £22m.

The government's Early Intervention Youth Fund is designed to fund local youth projects that seek to steer young people away from violent crime. Picture: NTI

The Early Intervention Youth Fund, which opened for funding applications today, is part of the Serious Violence Strategy published by the government in April.

The fund was originally set to distribute £11m over two years but Home Secretary Sajid Javid has now doubled the amount of money available to £22m.

"Intervening early in the lives of vulnerable young people can help focus their talents on positive activities and steer them away from the dangers of serious violence," said Javid.

"This is why we are doubling our Early Intervention Youth Fund to £22m. The fund will support groups at the heart of communities who educate and interact with youths - and provide them with an alternative to crime."

The fund offers police and crime commissioners (PCCs) in England and Wales up to £700,000 of funding over two years for initiatives that use positive activities to keep young people away from crime. These activities are expected to include sports projects, youth work and mentoring schemes. PCCs will be able to use the money to expand existing initiatives and create new schemes.

To qualify for funding, PCCs must be working with community safety partnerships or a local equivalent. The money is primarily targeted at initiatives that work with under-18s but projects that work with young adults up to the age of 25 will also be considered.

The prospectus for the Early Intervention Youth Fund says projects must include an element of match funding, but there are no set expectations on how much match funding projects require.

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The Early Intervention Foundation welcomed the extra money for the fund but said it is vital that the projects it supports draw on evidence of what interventions are effective.

"We mustn't fall into the trap of assuming that any early intervention is better than none," said Donna Molloy, director of policy and practice at the foundation.

"It's great to see the new investment for early intervention announced by the government today, but it is vital that this is channelled into evidence-based, effectively targeted and well-implemented forms of early intervention, to ensure that these precious resources are more likely to translate into better outcomes for young people and their communities."

Molloy said "tough love" or deterrence-based approaches "have not been shown to have positive impacts". She added that there is also a lack of evidence on how best to deliver effective mentoring to different groups of young people.

"It is imperative that new initiatives and programmes introduced through this fund are rigorously evaluated over time to record their actual impact on young people's outcomes," she said.

All projects funded by the Early Youth Intervention Fund will be subject to independent evaluation.

The fund's launch comes against a backdrop of rising violent crime among young people and growing concerns about cutbacks to local efforts to stop under-18s getting involved in criminal activities.

In January, research by the Ministry of Justice and Youth Justice Board found that just 59 per cent of PCCs fund youth crime prevention work in their area.

In March the Local Government Association warned that central government funding of youth offending teams has been halved over the past eight years.

And in April Stuart Gallimore, the president of the Association of Directors of Children's Services, criticised the Serious Violence Strategy for lacking in measures to help councils develop local responses to youth crime.

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