PFCC supports young people in Basildon with £20,000 grant to Bar ‘n’ Bus
Vulnerable young people in Basildon now have access to a full-time youth worker, both at school and on the streets.
Bar ‘n’ Bus works with churches, councils and schools to develop and provide community-based youth work and in-school mentoring.
Having delivered detached youth work sessions on the streets of Basildon since 2020, the provision has now grown to see one-to-one support and group work provided at all of the town’s secondary schools.
Young people also now have access to a cookery programme – based at the Salvation Army – to give them the skills to take care of themselves at home.
The Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner for Essex (PFCC) contributed £20,000 to Bar N Bus from the 2022-23 Crime Prevention Fund to deploy a full-time youth worker in Basildon.
Roger Hirst, Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner, said: “Giving young people positive role models, life skills and opportunities for a fulfilling future are huge keys to setting them on the right path in life. Children without this support network are at huge risk of falling victim to exploitation and County Lines.
“With this piece of work, families in Basildon can be sure their young people are receiving the support they need, whether that is at school or out in the community.”
CEO Jamie Sawtell said: “Our ultimate goal is for young people to develop personally and socially. We want them to grow up with new opportunities, to live full lives free from the fear of exploitation and to have the best opportunities for their future.
“Off the back of our detached youth work, we develop programmes directly with young people engaged. At the heart of what we do is working with young people in multiple contexts. The young people we see on the streets can also see us in school. Our targeted programmes also come from engagement.
“The cookery programme, for example, came as a result of us meeting young people who were saving up their lunch money to have their only hot meal of the week from the chicken shop. In some cases, nobody in their family knew how to cook. The idea of teaching them to cook came from that. As such, th
e group now have a range of skills and are making huge positive contributions to their families.
“The full-time role is about providing young people with that trusted adult they may not have in their life elsewhere. Being a trusted adult who is the same person they see in multiple locations shows that we care about all parts of their lives and they have access to support at different times in the week for different purposes. That is hugely beneficial.
“Our work isn’t focused on fixing an issue, but on building positive relationships which provide holistic support. Positive connections and engagements are a huge factor in reducing problems before they arise.
“We also know there is a direct link between being excluded from school and exploitation and County Lines. We are exploring with schools to see what we can do to keep young people in mainstream education and reduce the risk of exploitation.
“We are listening to young people and building programmes and engagements that work for them. We would never have had the time to do this without the funded full-time role.
“It is encouraging that the PFCC sees what we are doing and achieving and continues to invest in our work. We feel very supported.”
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 which can be found on our website at https://www.essex.pfcc.police.uk/
You can find out more about the work of the Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner at Roger Hirst’s next public meeting taking place in Basildon on Tuesday, January 17.
It starts at 7pm at the Basildon Centre in St Martin’s Square.
More details are available on https://www.essex.pfcc.police.uk/