Nottinghamshire investing in successful youth offending and child criminal exploitation project
Plans have been approved to extend targeted youth work that cuts youth reoffending rates and prevents criminal exploitation of young people.
Nottinghamshire County Council’s Policy Committee on Wednesday, 17 March, committed to investing a further £300,000 for the successful youth work interventions project to continue until June 2022.
The project involves youth workers working directly with young people known to the youth justice service as well as young people at risk of engaging in harmful behaviours. The aims are to reduce the risk of young people committing or becoming a victim of violent crime, reduce offending and re-offending, to improve their aspirations and increase engagement in positive activities such as education, training and sports.
The project was first set up in 2019 and has two main areas of focus: youth justice work uses activity-based mentoring and youth service work provides tailored youth work interventions.
The youth justice activity-based mentoring scheme has seen significant results, with youth re-offending rates of those in the programme seven times lower than the national average, at just 5 per cent compared with 37 per cent.
The mentoring scheme has successfully engaged with 67 of 68 young people referred in and they have been supported to gain qualifications, to access training, return to education or to get work experience. Alongside this, they have also been offered the opportunity to get involved in positive activities such as sports, music producing, bike repair and maintenance, and outdoor pursuits.
The other strand of the project has provided youth work interventions for 240 young people identified as at risk and needing targeted support. Youth workers have supported young people by working through concerns and issues such as housing, education, risk from adult exploiters, anger management and mental health. Youth workers have also provided opportunities for activities including sports, outdoor activities like fishing and climbing, and volunteering, to align with the young person’s aspirations and needs.
The council’s youth work also focuses on tackling criminal exploitation of young people through partnership work with the Multi-Agency Serious Youth Violence and Criminal Exploitation (YVCCE) Panel. The group meets monthly to consider the young people in the county who are most vulnerable to exploitation and those at risk of perpetrating a violent crime.
Because of the project’s success, Councillors have now approved plans to extend the project which will see the team of youth workers remain in post until June 2022. This will allow the targeted support to continue, providing better outcomes for more vulnerable young people in Nottinghamshire.
Councillor Tracey Taylor, Vice-Chair of the Children and Young People’s Committee, at Nottinghamshire County Council, said, “I am very proud of the successful work of the youth justice service and youth service, which has continued to deliver positive outcomes for Nottinghamshire’s young people amid the challenges of the ongoing pandemic.
“These great outcomes for young people, as well as the important work around reducing child criminal exploitation, are a testament to the work of these services and their success is a credit to the council, the young people, and the communities of Nottinghamshire.
“I am delighted that the committee has recommended a continued investment in these proven initiatives. This will allow us to continue working with the most vulnerable young people with focused youth work programmes. Youth workers will continue their effective work addressing risk-taking, criminal behaviour, active citizenship and young people finding their role within society.”