WINNERS ANNOUNCED as the Northumbria Violence Reduction Unit awards almost £16,000 to fund projects developed by young people, in a bid to tackle violent crime and improve feelings of safety in local communities.

The Local Youth Fund provides young people with a platform to voice their ideas for projects and activities that have a benefit to them and the areas they live in.

More than 4,600 young people have already benefited from nearly £30,000 handed out in previous rounds of the fund.

This latest round will see a further 600 young people get involved in projects they have developed themselves, and thanks to this fund, their ideas will now become a reality.

With the results now in, the Northumbria Violence Reduction Unit is delighted to reveal the projects receiving a share of the funding:

  • Acumen Community Group will offer after-school drop in sessions, creating a safe space for young people to socialise. During this time, they plan to work on projects that increase their peers’ awareness of the dangers associated with knife crime.
  • Amble Youth Project will work on improving their youth café, where young people can learn how to cook healthy meals. The group are keen for this space to provide an alternative to congregating on the streets, where they spend time with friends, and learn how to keep themselves safe.
  • Escape Intervention Group have put together an activities programme for their peers, including boxing classes, paddle boarding and go-karting. With access to these new opportunities, they feel it will improve their confidence and wellbeing.
  • The Chess Project will hold sessions where young people can share their views and suggestions on ASB and violent crime with the various services responsible for keeping them safe, ensuring their voice is part of all decisions made in their community.
  • Throckley Youth Group will arrange a football match that brings together young people and representatives from key services, with the aim of building relationships, breaking down barriers and providing an opportunity to start having conversations on topics such as knife crime and personal safety.
  • Winlaton Youth Group will create a knife crime awareness campaign aimed at young people, featuring artwork to get their attention, and encouraging them to start talking about the dangers, as well as the importance of making good choices.

Thanks to the Violence Reduction Unit working closely with NE Youth, each application to the fund has been thoroughly reviewed by a panel of 12 young people, creating an opportunity to share their experiences and unique perspectives, whilst also gaining key skills for their future.

The panel said that there had been lots of good ideas put forward, making selecting the six winning applications a difficult task, and as projects now get underway, they are looking forward to providing mentoring support to their peers.

Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner, Kim McGuinness said: “The youth fund is one of many initiatives from the Violence Reduction Unit, that puts young people at the heart of its decision-making and gives them the chance to tell us how they think violent crime can be prevented – and they have done just that.”

“Young people often tell me that they want to be part of the solution when it comes to tackling violent crime, and this fund gives them a platform to voice their views and ideas – and I can’t think of a better way than just simply asking them what they want.”

“In previous rounds of this fund, young people have gained confidence, improved physical and mental health and got the chance to learn new skills. That’s why it makes it all the more important to keep giving them access to positive opportunities, where we can support them in making good choices.”

“I would like to thank everyone who has applied to this latest round; there have been some wonderful ideas.”

On behalf of the North East Youth Alliance, NE Youth Chief Executive Jon Niblo said: We were incredibly proud of the young people who participated in the panel discussions. They took their role and responsibilities very seriously to ensure that the funding was allocated appropriately. Well done to all successful applicants and good luck with your projects.

For more information about the Northumbria Violence Reduction Unit, visit the website.