Positive relationships were built with young people over the summer on the streets of Rayleigh.
Thanks to funding from the Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner for Essex (PFCC), a local youth work charity was able to deliver a high impact and engaging summer programme for young people in the community during the long summer break.
The PFCC provided £1,400 in the form of a crime and disorder reduction grant from the 2019/2020 Community Safety Fund to Bar N bus to support the summer youth programme.
The programme actively engaged young people in alternative activities – such as spray can art sessions, music production and caged football – at locations to suit them, including the skate park at King George V Playing Field.
Aaron Watts, youth development officer, said: “The demand was there and the young people got used to us being around. It went fantastically. We have been able to have really good conversations and to build relationships with them. It was an opportunity to speak with young people so that when we want to work with them in future, we will not have to do that engagement work as it has already been done.
“Our work is about trying to prevent things such as anti-social behaviour, drugs and mental health issues from happening in the first place. It’s about being able to reach young people and steering them away from these negative paths. Being able to get a young person to realise what is going on in their life and showing them they have a chance to change it is key.”
Bar N Bus, a Christian charity, works in partnership with churches, schools, councils and groups, to offer community youth work, schools support and youth counselling.
The PFCC funding enabled the charity to build on the work it has been doing since the 1990s.
Mr Watts said: “The funding meant we were able to get trained to drive the van and trailer and to bring other people on board to expand on what we already do. To have that little bit of extra money meant we could pay someone to come and do things like the graffiti artwork; all of those things cost money.
“If we did not have this money, we would not be able to get out there.”
Roger Hirst, Police, Fire & Crime Commissioner for Essex, said: “We held a public meeting in Rayleigh in May this year which was attended by around 200 local residents. They were concerned about the levels of anti-social behaviour caused by young people in the area. I’m delighted that we were able to fund these schemes to help engage with some of those young people and make a difference to the community.”
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