Programme to tackle gang violence will help young people in three areas of Nottingham

Councillors approved the project (credit LDRS)
By Anna Whittaker, Local Democracy Reporter

A new project based on a successful American scheme will aim to reduce violence involving gangs and young people in three areas of Nottingham.

The ‘Another Chance Programme’ will be launched in Basford, The Meadows and Top Valley and is aimed at young people aged 14-25  involved in gangs or
criminal exploitation.

A total of £831,675 of Government funding, delivered through charity the Youth Endowment Fund, will provide three new youth support workers, a researcher, a specialist mental health practitioner, business support and a hub manager.

The three-year project is inspired by ‘Focused Deterrence’ – an approach to violence reduction that was developed in Boston in the USA in the mid-1990s.

Nottingham City Council approved the project during its executive board meeting on September 20.

But there was a suggestion amongst councillors that there are “inconsistencies” with funding for youth services in the city in the last 10 years.

The programme addresses mental health and stabilising behaviour – recognising that offenders are likely to be victims of violence and trauma themselves.

Councillor David Mellen (Lab), leader of Nottingham City Council, said: “I think there’s inconsistency with how youth services are provided.

“We don’t want individual schemes for a little bit of time, you want comprehensive funding for all of our young people.

“If you look at the history of Nottingham city council over the last 10 years, we’ve had to systematically reduce services to young people.

“I don’t want to be churlish and of course, we will welcome the money, but there are more than three areas in the city that could do with this resource.”

Councillor Adele Williams (Lab) said she supported Cllr Mellen’s comments and added: “We wish all our young people could have an expectation that there would be a youth service they could access.

“I am wondering how we’ve got to a position where youth work is not statutory. (a public service which must be delivered by law)

“I hope councillor [Andrew] Rule (Con) would want to join with us in writing to the government to suggest that it is.”

It is hoped that the programme will lead to reductions in offences involving weapons in the city where victims and offenders are under 25 and an increase in community confidence in policing.

Councillor Neghat Khan (Lab) added: “Early intervention is keeping young people away from crime because they are being exploited by gangs to make money.

“It’s the life experiences at a young age, that mental support is really welcomed.

“I think it’s excellent that we can get this money.”

The programme will be delivered through the city’s Youth Justice Service.

The project sponsor is Nottinghamshire Police and Crime Commissioner  Caroline Henry.

Amanda Solloway MP, Minister for Safeguarding, said: “Serious violence has a
devastating impact on individuals and communities. This year, the Government has invested £130 million to address serious violence and homicide, delivering our twintrack approach which combines tough enforcement with early intervention to divert young people away from crime.

“As part of this, we are committed to testing and evaluating what really works to prevent violence. This is why we are providing £3 million to the Youth Endowment Fund to test the Focused Deterrence approach in the UK context.”

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