Three innovative youth projects have been granted funds to curb knife crime and divert young people from street violence in Nottinghamshire.
Following on from his recent budget pledge, Nottinghamshire Police and Crime Commissioner Paddy Tipping and the Chief Constable are providing more than £50,000 funding for community-led work reaching those at risk of gang involvement and knife crime across the county.
Each project will work closely with knife crime lead Supt Simon Firth from Nottinghamshire Police to develop the work and ensure they are targeting the right age groups and geographical areas to maximise the impact of the campaign.
They include football-led workshops, free boxing sessions and an online support network.
“If we’re going to dismantle knife culture and lead young people away from street violence then we need the help of the people they know and trust from within their communities,” said Mr Tipping.
“We recognise the immense power of our youth leaders to motivate, build self-confidence and promote self-respect among young people, particularly those who feel alienated from society. We need to harness these skills to tackle this serious issue.
“As positive role models, they can have a lasting impression on young people and transform lives and nowhere is this work more vital than in addressing knife crime.
“This funding will support their efforts and ensure young people have access to people who understand the challenges they face, have personal experience of overcoming them and can support them to make the right choices in the future.”
Nottinghamshire Police Chief Constable Craig Guildford welcomed the funding for the community projects.
He said: "Many young people who become involved in knife crime have experienced or been exposed to violence and criminality in their lives, and this makes them much more likely to see violence as a solution to some of their problems.
"To break free from the cycle of violence they need to know they are not alone and that there are real alternatives.
“These projects are good examples of positive activities and support that is out there.
"Engaging young people in their passions like football or boxing can have a powerful and positive influence on their lives, including developing skills such as relationship-building and decision-making.
"It is also crucial that people can access support and learning in a safe environment where they can feel confident to talk about issues they are encountering and get the help they need.”
The successful projects are:
“Lives not Knives!” - Nottingham Forest Community Trust and The Pythian Club
This project will receive £20,132 to use the positive power of professional football and free boxing sessions to engage young people in high-quality structured activity, proving free access to established diversionary programmes which promote positive communication, respecting rules that support safe behaviour, healthy physical activity and team working.
“Don’t Hate – Be a Mate” – Switch Up CIC
This project will receive £15k to deliver free boxing sessions for young people at risk of knife or hate crime or extremist views. Partner agencies will be able to refer young people at risk and the boxing sessions will encourage young people to work together and develop healthy relationships based on their shared love for sports.
“Tackling Knife Crime through Safe Space” – Fearless Youth Association
The project will receive a grant of £15k to develop a physical and online “Safe Space” where young people can meet and discuss issues while learning skills and receiving support from appropriate professionals. The focus will be on improving relationships with intervention partners and diverting young people from crime and antisocial behaviour.
Representatives from each project will be attending Nottinghamshire’s Lives Not Knives Conference at The Atrium in Nottingham on April 30 where the PCC will bring together key partners to discuss the work taking place to tackle knife crime in the county.
Marcellus Baz BEM, managing director of Switch Up, said: “Switch Up is delighted to be one of the projects to be funded by our Police and Crime Commissioner, to help combat the Knife crime issue affecting our city.
“We will be using these funds to continue resourcing our work on the frontline in educating and delivering knife prevention programs to the young people who most need them.
“It is great to see how this serious issue is being addressed within a collaborative approach and Switch Up wholeheartedly welcomes the support of our Police and Crime Commissioner.”
Ben Rosser, founder of The Pythian Club, added: “On behalf of The Pythian Club we are extremely grateful to have received the PCC funding. We will be working alongside some key partners to address these concerns within Nottingham.
“We have a proven track record of working with disengaged young people, providing them with sustainable, positive solutions. With this funding we will look to continue this in the future.”
Graham Moran, Chief Executive of Nottingham Forest Community Trust, said: “Nottingham Forest Community Trust is delighted to receive investment from the Police and Crime Commissioner’s Office to help tackle knife crime.
“We will be working hard in collaboration with other key local organisations in order to reduce the amount of young people involved in or at risk of involvement in violent behaviour. We will be playing a small role, but are determined to make a positive impact.”
A spokesperson for the Fearless Youth Association Team said: “We are exceptionally grateful that our project received the PCC funding and we are glad to be working with great leaders who support our cause. This proposed work will echo our past work, which is primarily to undertake prevention and early intervention work to create long-term solutions to knife crime problems.
“Development of friendship, trust and more reasons for working and coming together other than focusing on enforcement of laws to counter the problem has been and will continue to be our theme, as we have found it working and it has been proven to be the most effective intervention model.
“We will retain a positive approach where we develop a mapping exercise to understand who is doing what in the city, how best to work with them and areas we can collaborate and partner for most effective service provision to our target groups.”
Media Enquiries: Sallie Blair - 01283 821012 / 07702 541401
Posted on Monday 30th April 2018