PFCC helps Rainbow Services secure a brighter future for young people in Harlow
Hundreds of vulnerable young people – and their families and communities – have seen their lives turn around, thanks to £44,500 of investment in their futures.
Rainbow Services provides a woodworking workshop in Harlow for young people displaying risky behaviours.
The youth workshop offers a positive focus and an opportunity for young people to gain qualifications and carve out a career path.
Over the last five years, a total of £44,576 of funding has been ploughed into the project by the Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner for Essex as part of a mission to prevent crime.
Roger Hirst, Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner, said: “What wonderful life chances this project is bringing to the communities of Harlow. Who knows what paths these young people would have found themselves on without the intervention of Rainbow Services.
“This is what our funding is all about; crime prevention and putting the people of Essex onto the road to bright and positive futures.”
The latest investment saw £14,876 given to Rainbow Services from the 2022-23 Crime Prevention Fund to continue the woodwork workshop and mentoring programme.
As a result of the funding, since 2018, more than 300 young people have been accepted onto the programme – with 100 per cent gaining Gateway Qualifications.
Young people have also gone on to apprenticeships, courses at Harlow College, Firebreak courses, police and fire cadets, Young Curators Silver Arts Award Project and work experience placements. They have also achieved Construction Skills Certification Scheme cards.
Jason Shaves, workshop facilities manager, said: “Our work is all about getting these young people back into society, whether that is getting them back to school or helping their families to move away from gangs dealing drugs. It’s about teaching them life skills and giving them a safe place to work, showing them there is another way; there are other options.
“We talk to them, we explain the consequences of their actions and we open their eyes to what is going on around them. Two young people were running drugs, but they had no idea their mobile phones were being tracked until we told them. They were shocked. They said they wished they had spoken to us sooner. We spoke to them about the long-term consequences of getting a criminal record, such as not being able to get a visa to travel, and that their current circle would not be their friends in five or six years’ time.
“It could be they have issues with their home life or school life, it’s not just all about gangs. They have experienced nothing but knockbacks.
“Seeing young people leave us at the end of the day with smiles on their faces because they have achieved something positive is wonderful. They believed they were not going to make anything of themselves, so seeing them feeling positive is what has been missing.
“There is the obvious benefit to young people of what we do, but this work also positively impacts their families, schools, other statutory services and their communities. When questioned, 75 per cent of our young people said they wanted to go on to take part positively in their community.
“If it were not for our workshops, these young people would be on the streets, not going to school. That is the scary thing.”
Community Safety Development Fund applications open
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 have to demonstrate that they will make a positive impact on at least one of the Police and Crime Plan or Fire and Rescue Plan priorities. More info here: Community Grants – Essex Police, Fire & Crime Commissioner (pfcc.police.uk)