Following recent tragedy in the region, resulting in the loss of two 14 year olds, Police Commissioner Kim McGuinness has reinforced her message that violent crime has no place in communities, and through the Violence Reduction Unit’s Local Youth Fund, she now wants to hear from young people on how they think crime can be prevented. 

With £15,000 available, young people are asked to put forward their ideas on projects or activities that they feel are needed in their local community. As part of this fund, the Violence Reduction Unit is particularly keen to hear ideas on what would make young people stop carrying knives and what would make them feel safer.  

This unique fund continues to put young people from Northumberland, Tyne and Wear at the heart of the decision-making process. Not only do they get the chance to bid for funding up to £500, but through the North East Youth Alliance, a panel of young people are tasked with reviewing applications and deciding which of them should receive the funding. 

Thanks to previous rounds, almost £30,000 has already made a difference to around 4,000 young people through projects and activities they bid for, including a variety of sports activities, training programmes for personal development, improving local areas and a focus on health and well-being.  

By developing their own projects, young people are gaining experience, learning new skills and building their confidence, all of which have a positive influence on future life choices.  

Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner, Kim McGuinness said: “In recent months, our region has experienced the devastating impact of serious violence, with the tragic loss of two 14 year olds. This is violence at it its worst and it has no place in our communities. Choosing violence such as picking up a knife is never the right answer and I will continue to do all I can to prevent further tragedy, but, I also want to hear from our young people – what do they want in their local community and what do they think would prevent crime. That’s why the Violence Reduction Unit have launched a fourth round of the Local Youth Fund, giving young people the chance to do exactly that. So, if you have an idea that you want to tell us about, or know someone who might, apply to this fund and you could be helping to make a difference in your local area.”  

She added: “In previous rounds, we have seen young people gaining new skills and growing in confidence, which is why I can’t stress enough how important it is that we continue to give them access to opportunities. With the right support, we can help our young people make positive choices for the future and reduce their chance of becoming involved in crime.” 

On behalf of the North East Youth Alliance, NE Youth Chief Executive Jon Niblo said: “We are delighted to work collaboratively with the Northumbria Violence Reduction Unit to provide young people with the opportunity to develop small projects that make a real difference in their communities.” 

For more information on the Local Youth Fund, please visit the Northumbria Violence Reduction Unit website.