(L-R): Paige Musson, Cora Wild, Paul Naylor CEO DHA, Hardyal Dhindsa (DPCC), Alex Mychalyszym and Mia Cook
More than 700 youngsters have taken part in a new project aimed at boosting confidence and self-esteem and preventing crime in the Ilkeston area.
Ilkeston-based Direct Help and Advice (DHA) received £25,000 from Derbyshire Police and Crime Commissioner Alan Charles through the fifth round of his Crime Prevention Grant to tackle youth crime and antisocial behaviour.
Last week (17 March), the training and advice charity presented Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner, Hardyal Dhindsa, with a report detailing its success over the past 12 months and the positive outcomes it has already achieved under its Youth Central in the Community programme. This scheme involved engaging with young people in the Ilkeston area before negative patterns of behaviour emerged and included a photography project by Hair and Beauty students at Derby College's Ilkeston campus - designed to capture the best and the worst of the town.
The project has exceeded initial expectations and has engaged with 760 young people since its launch – well beyond the 200 target number of people it had intended to reach to increase awareness of offending consequences and the impact of antisocial behaviour.
The organisation delivered 72 exciting sessions on a range of topics to develop their self-reliance, confidence and awareness of social issues including domestic violence, knife crime awareness, self-defence, wellbeing, money advice, e safety and gang awareness. The sessions were aimed at providing the young people with the right knowledge and tools to make lawful lifestyle choices and to prevent antisocial behaviour and crime.
Mr Dhindsa said: “Direct Help and Support has delivered hugely impressive outcomes from its youth engagement project and excellent value for money for taxpayers.
“Young people are the voice of our future and it’s important that we invest time, money and resources into projects that not only help to educate them but also provide young people with an opportunity to shine and recognise their skills and qualities. We need to guide young people to make the right decisions and the best way to do this is by showing them what they can achieve with hard work and dedication.
“I was pleased to meet many of the successful participants of this scheme to congratulate them for their efforts in person. The value of this project is evident by the sheer volume of young people reached in such a short space of time.”
In December, 65 young volunteers were honoured for their participation in the project during two celebration events. Many of the youngsters who benefited from the sessions were on-hand to meet Mr Dhindsa during his visit.
The project, which was delivered within the budget at £24,975, continues to be in high-demand from educational and community partners and currently 300 people are waiting to engage on a future programme.
Organisers are currently looking into further avenues of funding.
Media Enquiries: Sallie Blair - 01283 821012 / 07702 541401
Posted on Monday 21st March 2016