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Mentorship charity wins funding to stop youngsters being drawn to knife crime

A youth mentoring service experienced at working with disengaged young people is celebrating after its bid for knife crime prevention funding was successful.

The Melton Learning Hub has been awarded £9,999 by Leicestershire Police and Crime Commissioner Lord Willy Bach to work directly with young people at risk of violence and knife crime to challenge the acceptability of carrying knives and tackle the problems which prompt them to offend.

The grant is part of a £100k fund announced by the PCC last year to expand youth diversionary work which he says is vital to saving lives and preventing more young people becoming either victims or perpetrators of knife crime and violence.

The charity will spearhead two new projects over the coming months.

The first, open access, project will see youth sessions delivered from its centre, The Venue, in Nottingham Road, Melton Mowbray, to young people identified by schools and partner agencies. The sessions, which will explore the role of social media in glamorising and increasing acceptability of knife culture, will involve a host of activities aimed at helping people feel engaged and protective of their community. 

The second strand of work will be targeted towards those already identified as carrying knives and purposely referred to the service. Experienced Engage Youth Workers will work one-to-one with individuals and in small groups to increase understanding of the risks and to create an environment where all young people view the use of knives as unacceptable.

Willy Bach said: “I’m delighted to offer this funding to the Melton Learning Hub to stop young people making the fatal mistake of carrying knives.

“The charity has a wealth of experience in reaching disengaged young people who are at risk of turning to crime or violence for want of a better alternative. As partners, we must start providing these alternative paths to stop the bloodshed on our streets and I’m very grateful for the Hub’s help and insight into how we successfully do this.”

Sarah Cox, manager of the Melton Learning Hub, said: “The funding we have been granted by the PCC is a massive opportunity to work with young people to change this developing knife culture in our community.

“Melton Mowbray was recently placed the lowest nationally in a poll looking at opportunities for young people (BBC). While this is a good place to live, all agencies recognise we need to do more to encourage and support our young people to achieve positive outcomes in their lives.

“Reducing peer violence and creating aspiration to achieve and progress to employment has to be the first step in that process.”

Police forces nationwide are currently involved in a weeklong crackdown using surrender bins, stop and search tactics and weapons sweeps to address the surge in violence as part of Operation Sceptre.

The PCC believes more funding should be made available from the government for youth diversionary work, which was drastically cut during austerity years, and has written to Prime Minister Theresa May, alongside other Labour MPs and Police and Crime Commissioners, demanding more investment and the addition of 10,000 extra police officers for Britain’s streets.

Ends

Media Enquiries:  Sallie Blair 01283 821012

Posted on Thursday 14th March 2019
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