PCC visits youth mentoring service after group recently receives grant to fund detached projects
An organisation which provides safe spaces and practical support for young people through tailored mentoring programmes has received a community fund award from the Police and Crime Commissioner.
The Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner (OPCC) is helping to fund groups which engage young people in diversionary activities as a way of tackling anti-social behaviour, exploitation, and serious violence – directly delivering priorities two and three of the Police and Crime Plan.
This week, Police and Crime Commissioner Philip Wilkinson visited a youth club session supported by SMASH after the group was recently awarded funding through the PCC’s Community Action Fund, as well as receiving a grant of £497,000 after a successful bid from the OPCC to the latest round of the Home Office’s Safer Streets Fund.
The organisation runs several strands of mentoring programmes to build resilience, motivation, and self-confidence, develop skills to enter into education, training, or employment, and promote wellbeing in a holistic space.
SMASH will now use the extra funding to contribute towards a new detached youth work project that will take their mentoring expertise onto the streets.
Mr Wilkinson said: “Groups like SMASH that provide support, guidance, and activities for the young people of Wiltshire play a crucial role in developing well rounded, respectful, young members of society – which in turn reduces crime and creates safer spaces for all.
“Unfortunately, we know there is a link between more deprived areas and crime levels, so detached youth projects like this are great for focusing on the areas that need it most.
“My office will continue to invest in these, and other similar services to show our commitment to supporting young people and creating opportunities for them to thrive in their communities.”
SMASH’s new detached youth work project will run alongside their existing mentoring service and youth club sessions.
Amy Cox, Detached Youth Work Mentor at SMASH said: “We are incredibly excited to be able to continue our street based mentoring project, as we will be able to meet young people in their own settings, on their turf.
“We have spent the last couple of months writing policies and procedures and in meetings with the police, local youth activity providers, children's services and Youth Justice to create a suitable offer for young people focusing on the right areas and with the right information and support.
“Through meeting young people on the streets, we are creating safe activities and giving them safe adults to engage with, build relationships with, as well as offer help, support and signposting.”
Find out more about the community groups funded by the PCC’s Community Action Fund, the eligibility criteria and how to apply for future funding here.