Projects provide positive role models for youth at risk of becoming criminals

Councillor Margaret Mullane is the cabinet member for enforcement and community safety. Pic: Andreas

Councillor Margaret Mullane is the cabinet member for enforcement and community safety. Pic: Andreas Grieger - Credit: Archant

Young people most at risk of becoming involved in violence and other crime are being offered activities and safe spaces to help them develop.

Barking and Dagenham Council has commissioned community organisations Arc Theatre, BoxUp Crime, Future MOLDS, LifeLine Projects and Studio3Arts to provide mentoring and positive activities such as arts, boxing, drama and music.

The organisations can refer young people to each another to help provide tailored support.

Lifeline Projects chief executive officer Nathan Singleton said: "To stem the surge of serious youth violence we need a joint up approach with all relevant statutory and voluntary providers working in partnership to share intelligence and develop solutions.

"Young people at risk of serious youth violence need positive role models to show them the choices they have and activities to give them an alternative to life on the road."

Spark2Life has also been commissioned to deliver intensive mentoring and one-to-one support for young people involved in gang activities to help them change their lifestyle.

The council has applied for funding from the tri-borough integrated gangs unit to work with young women affected by gang and group violence.

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The Mayor's Office for Policing and Crime awarded Barking and Dagenham and Redbridge councils £500,000 to help tackle serious youth violence as part of a £4.1million programme secured from the Home Office's Early Intervention Youth Fund.

Trauma training has been delivered to 150 professionals across the two boroughs to help staff to understand the impact of trauma on young people's life choices and how this manifests in their behaviour.

It will help staff within schools, the police, health services, the fire service and the council to better understand and deliver services that can support young people who are experiencing trauma.

Councillor Margaret Mullane, cabinet member for enforcement and community safety, said: "Not every child is lucky enough to have family, friends or role models in their lives.

"These projects are vitally important as they're helping these young people to get the support they need and will help to steer them away from crime and violence.

"We're also working closely with our partners and sharing knowledge and skills to help to get to the root causes of issues rather than dealing with problems in later life."