PFCC funding helping to empower young people and build relationships with the police
Vulnerable young people are learning about the work of the police as a way of building respect.
Eleven to 16-year-olds from Tendring are spending time with Essex Police to find out more about their work in various departments, including the marine support unit and dog unit, and as firearms officers.
The introductions are part of the work being carried out by UTurn4Support, a charity which empowers young people to improve their life opportunities by diverting them away from poor life choices.
The Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner for Essex (PFCC) contributed £19,825 to UTurn4Support from the 2022-23 Crime Prevention Fund to work with 20 young people.
Roger Hirst, Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner, said: “By working together, we are so much stronger and more able to reach our shared goals. Collaborating in this way will make the message loud and clear to the young people of Tendring that there are trusted adults all around them who are able to support them on their – sometimes difficult – journey to a bright future.”
The group will receive mentoring and enrichment sessions over the 36-week programme tailored to the issues they are facing in life, such as exploitation or exclusion from school.
Based in the grounds of Clacton Coastal Academy, in Clacton, and North East Essex Additional Provision School, in Colchester, UTurn4Support provides a drop-in hub for all young people in the district, as well as one-to-one and online mentoring.
Operation Flourish, which started in November, will see young people build long-term relationships with positive role models.
Director Tania Swanson said: “We are different because we work long-term with young people. When it might take four weeks to get a young person to come in, sit down and have a conversation with you, a short-term approach doesn’t work. It’s no wonder some of the more hardened young people, who have been through some awful things, have a negative attitude towards life. Working with them for a short period of time, you are only going to get so far. Eventually, most come around, but for those who take some time to engage, they need that consistency of support. They know we are always going to be here.
“We want to give young people a complete overview of what the police do. It is not just a case of stopping and searching people on the street.
“We are trying to improve the relationship between young people and the police and other support agencies. We want to educate them that there are avenues of support they can seek out.
“We hope their attitude towards putting themselves in vulnerable situations changes and that their relationship with the justice system improves. We do not want them ending up in the justice system; that’s our main goal.”
The work will also include goal-setting for the young people and encouraging them to have more confidence in themselves.
Of the funding, Tania said: “There is no way we could have delivered this project had it not been for this funding. We know we are delivering and the PFCC can see that.
“We have had young people who were not engaging in education go on to secure apprenticeships as a result of our programme.”
Could your group or organisation benefit from our funding?
Voluntary and community safety groups from across Essex can apply for a funding boost from the Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner for Essex’s Community Safety Development Fund.
The £333,000 fund offers grants of up to £20,000 for community projects that help to prevent and tackle crime and anti-social behaviour in Essex, as well as supporting vulnerable people.
Applications to the fund must demonstrate that they will make a positive impact on at least one of the Police and Crime Plan priorities. Link to Police and Crime Plan information.