Home Office announces £18m for youth projects to tackle serious violence

By Gabriella Jozwiak

| 12 November 2018

A total of 29 projects working to divert children and young people away from violent crime in England and Wales will receive government funding worth £17.7 million over two years, the Home Office has announced.

The government is funding projects designed to prevent children and young people becoming involved in criminal activity. Picture: Tom Campbell

The Early Intervention Youth Fund is intended to help youth workers prevent children and young people becoming involved in criminal activity, such as being drawn into "county lines" crime where gangs from urban areas exploit children to establish drug-dealing networks in rural areas.

It also funds projects working with young people who have already offended, to help divert them into positive life choices.

The Mayor's Office for Policing and Crime in London received the largest amount of £4.2m to be shared between 10 projects. These include plans to establish a unit of three outreach workers to develop long-term relationships with young people across the three boroughs of Westminster, Kensington and Chelsea, and Hammersmith and Fulham, and a targeted and integrated youth service led by young people in the London Borough of Southwark.

The London Borough of Camden has received funding to embed trained practitioners within police custody who can identify children at risk of serious youth violence and provide targeted early interventions to the child and their family.

Sussex will receive £890,616 to establish a network of coaches to work with at-risk young people referred to them by schools, health services, statutory partners and police. And Wales will receive £1,211,542 to create youth support intervention programmes and media campaigns.

Home Secretary Sajid Javid said the government is seeking to take a short- and long-term approach to helping young people at risk of committing crime.

"As well as taking immediate action to curb knife crime, we need a longer-term approach to prevent our young people from getting drawn into a life of crime in the first place," he said.

"That is why early intervention - alongside tough law enforcement - is at the heart of our Serious Violence Strategy.

"This money will fund a range of projects that focus on diverting vulnerable youngsters and those who have already offended away from crime."

The fund is part of the government's Serious Violence Strategy announced in April. It offered funding to police and crime commissioners in England and Wales working with community safety partnerships or a local equivalent on projects for under-18s, primarily.

The government doubled the original amount offered to £22m in July this year, although only £17.7m of funding has been announced. The Home Office is yet to say how the remaining £4.3m will be spent.

Last month, Javid also announced a £200m youth endowment fund over 10 years to support projects helping vulnerable children aged 10 to 14.

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