Youth mentorship project praised by Commissioner for helping to protect most vulnerable from crime

A youth project funded by Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland Police and Crime Commissioner Rupert Matthews to steer young people away from crime and anti-social behaviour is already helping to transform lives.

Up to 40 young people at risk of falling out of education have been supported through a sports and mentorship scheme delivered by Somali Development Services in Leicester.

A new video of the organisation’s progress in supporting young people has been shared on Mr Matthews’ website as part of his commitment to keep the public informed of the community work underway to keep them safe.  

Somali Development Services received £9,750 from the Commissioner’s Safety Fund for its Intervening Before Crime project and has been providing sports activities such as cricket from Madani High School in Leicester to give young people a positive outlet for their time and energy.

Additionally, the scheme has offered a range of educational, extracurricular classes and mentoring sessions at Ileys Development Centre for those at risk of falling behind in their studies as well as parenting support and intergenerational conflict resolution to adults to help guide young people on the right path.

The scheme, which has been funded for 12 months, is already proving a success with a significant improvement in behaviour reported among young people involved on the educational and mentorship programme.

It has also successfully engaged hard-to-reach young people who have previously resisted other diversionary schemes.

Mr Matthews said: “The evidence shows that young people who drop out of education face a higher risk of being drawn into crime and anti-social behaviour so resources like this, which deliver timely intervention, are desperately needed.

“The project has reached a significant number of young people already including those who have previously been reluctant to engage with diversionary activities. Sport is a medium than transcends all boundaries and I’m really impressed that the team is making an impact and seeing notable change through its work.”

Maryan Anshur, chief executive of Somali Development Services, added: “This project has enabled us to support some of the most vulnerable people and help them transition towards a positive outlook on their life by providing them with positive and meaningful activities and also by working with their families to support them with the issues they are facing.”

The PCC’s funding enabled project leaders to recruit a specialist Youth Worker to work with the young people and assess their needs. Where specialist help is needed, the individual will be referred on to the project’s mentoring and support program which is funded independently.

Somali Development Services has recruited volunteers from local communities and is working in partnership with local schools and other community organisations to reach as many young people as possible.

Find out more about Somali Development Services and how the funds they receive will be used:



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Sallie Blair
Better Times
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Posted on Wednesday 4th January 2023
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