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Active Approach to Cutting Youth Crime

South Tyneside Council has secured more £250,000 to run a scheme aimed at preventing youth offending.

The money from the Youth Endowment Fund, provided from the Home Office, will mean targeted early help can be delivered to families across South Tyneside to stop children getting dragged into crime.

The initial two-year project will focus on using outdoor education to enhance young people's resilience. Children between the ages of 10 and 14 at risk of offending, re-offending or school exclusion, or who are truanting or exhibiting anti-social behaviour or who have experienced childhood trauma will be targeted along with their immediate families.

There will be two cohorts over each of the two years of the project with families learning skills such as kayaking, orienteering, sailing and rock climbing. They will also use the facilities at Thurston Outdoor Education Centre in the Lake District to learn life skills and reinforce resilience.

The South Tyneside project is one of just 22 across the country selected from 445 organisations to receive funding. All projects will be independently evaluated by IPSOS MORI.

Councillor Moira Smith, Lead Member for Children, Young People and Families, said: "We already know that outdoor education can play a pivotal role in equipping young people with the skills they need to overcome barriers and difficulties in their lives. We hope that by combining this with resilience teaching this project could have a positive impact and divert some of our most disadvantaged young people away from a life of crime.

"Using a combined approach of taught resilience and outdoor education has never been tried before but, if successful, this project could secure more funding in the future and be rolled out on a national scale as an example of best practice."

As part of the project, each cohort will be asked to also take part in a social action project to foster citizenship. This will involve working with them to think about the wider community, the consequences of their actions and hopefully result in them becoming a positive role model for other young people.

Andy Ratcliffe from the Youth Endowment Fund said: "Young people being drawn into violent crime is an issue of huge concern for communities right across the country. The Youth Endowment Fund is a serious long-term commitment to tackling this problem.

"We will fund, support and evaluate front line interventions to start making a difference now, while building a knowledge base of what works, what doesn't and where we need to focus our resources."


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