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Innovative youth violence reduction plan celebrated one year after launch

A five-year action plan which aims to radically reduce violent crime amongst children and young people in Lambeth has been celebrated one year after its launch.

Lambeth Council’s innovative Young and Safe action plan has successfully developed a range of methods that have identified 332 young people at risk of involvement in serious youth violence since the plan was launched in November 2008.

The programme has been designed to reduce the number of young people who commit violent offences by diverting those at risk onto pathways that lead to educational success, secure employment, and career progression.

Lambeth Council celebrated progress made in the programme’s first year at a Young and Safe community event held at the Brit Oval on Wednesday. Over the past twelve months the council has commissioned a range of family support, targeted youth support and education, employment and training services. A total of 22 small community projects providing positive activities for children and young people have also been funded and many young people have received individual and tailored support to get back into education or training and employment through personal grants.

Benefits of the programme are evident with 100 per cent of families who have been offered support through the Family Intervention Programme (FIP) having enrolled on in the service. One third of young people who have completed an employment, education and training programme are now in work, with many more still taking part in a programme.

Councillor Steve Reed, Leader of Lambeth Council, said: “Only a minority of young people get involved in crime but when they do we take action. In many cases it’s a lack of alternatives that leads some young people into a lifestyle that can put them on the wrong path – which is why it has been vital that our Young and Safe action plan has worked.

He added: “We’ve cut the number of young people getting into trouble with the police by almost a third over the past two years in Lambeth, and tackling youth crime remains a top issue for the council – we owe it to the young people themselves and to society as a whole.”

Feedback from parent who has received support from the Family Intervention Project (FIP), said:

“I wish I had known about the FIP before, it is a really great help with what you do with my children, and the activities you are running this half-term mean my children have something to do for the holidays, instead of hanging about getting into trouble.”

Young people who have taken part in the council’s Targeted Youth Support workshop days have said:

“The life of crime, drugs and committing offences is not the life for me.”

“If people thought more about the consequences of their actions and the effect their actions would have on other people they would not use a knife or a gun.”

The Young and Safe event day was led by Lambeth Council Leader, Councillor Steve Reed, and attended by partners from across the council, police, and health service. Voluntary and community sector organisations who have delivered services on behalf of Young and Safe also attended. The achievements of young people who attended the programme were also recognised during an award ceremony, and partners looked ahead at the programmes objectives for 2010 – 2011.

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