In Funding Stories, Strengthening community cohesion

Project: Stay Safe Sessions

Community Safety Fund (in partnership with Buckinghamshire Council): £5,675

With funding from Heart of Bucks, Community Youth Ventures (CYV) were able to deliver a unique series of mobile, detached and 1:1 youth work sessions in Aylesbury. The sessions took place in areas that had been identified as being in high need of support by Thames Valley Police and the Buckinghamshire Council ASB team. Each of the areas had tailored intervention and preventative activities that were developed in partnership with young people. The aim of the sessions being to divert young people away from anti-social behaviour, violent crimes and risk taking activities.

At each session, young people participated in positive activities such as football, basketball, rounders, and team building games, as well as healthy eating to improve health and wellbeing, making sport, leisure and learning opportunities readily available to disadvantaged or at risk young people. There was access to CYV’s mobile van, allowing participants an opportunity to learn about making music, DJing and sound engineering. The mobile van and a marque were used to undertake pop up sessions on staying safe linked to knife and gang crime, exploitation, drug abuse, anti-social behaviour and for signposting to other services. Every session was attended by a qualified youth worker, Youth Justice Officer and fitness coach to support young people to understand and manage conflict resolution and anger issues by using confidence building, health and fitness and preventative learning to change lives.

In total, 23 mobile and detached sessions took place in Aylesbury, with a further 21 1:1 mentoring sessions also being delivered, reaching over 200 at risk or disadvantaged young people. Being mobile and taking place within communities allowed this unique project to benefit across cultures and backgrounds, giving young people a safe and positive space to learn, understand the impact of negative and anti-social behaviours, and create lasting friendships.

Community Youth Ventures say:

We believe in young people and understand the difficulties they may face each day which can shape their futures. We care and offer advice, support and guidance to help shape a better future for them.

Case Study

Child A was referred to the project for 1:1 mentoring and coaching as he was getting involved in violent crimes linked to gang affiliation and was out of education. Whilst supporting this young person, he was attacked by a group of young males who recorded the attack and then uploaded the footage onto social media. Child A wanted revenge instead of reporting the incident to the Police. Child A wanted to arm himself with a knife and find the culprits. The Community Youth Ventures mentor explained to Child A what could happen if he was to arm himself and went through the law, medical implications, and how to stay safe. This enabled Child A to gain the knowledge that empowered him to not look for revenge and possibly injure another or be injured himself.

With 1:1 support and coaching, Child A reported this incident to the Police and decided to stay at home during this difficult period. Child A’s youth worker supported Child A throughout this difficult time and visited once a week for 3 weeks. Child A is now safe and has taken himself away from a dangerous lifestyle. He is back in education and has a brighter future. Without this intervention, Child A could possibly have gone down the wrong path and ended up in the criminal justice system or Accident and Emergency. Having a youth worker to spend time with Child A was invaluable as it enabled Child A to have to right support when needed most.

To read more about Community Youth Ventures CIC, click here.

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