Thousands of pounds of funding are to be invested into protecting young people in Melton who are at risk of being involved in knife crime.
Leicestershire Police and Crime Commissioner, Lord Willy Bach, has given £9,9999 to Melton Learning Hub to use in working directly with young people at risk of violence and knife crime to challenge the acceptability of carrying knives and tackle the problems which prompt them to offend.
The money will be used to deliver sessions at the hub’s youth centre, The Venue, in Nottingham Road, for youngsters identified by schools and partner agencies.
These will explore the role of social media in glamourising and increasing acceptability of knife culture and will involve a host of activities aimed at helping young people feel engaged and protective of their community.
The funding will also be used to work with those already identified as carrying knives and purposely referred to the service. Experienced youth workers will work one-to-one with individuals and in small groups to increase understanding of the risks and to create an environment where all young people view the use of knives as unacceptable.
The grant allocated to the hub is part of a £100,000 fund announced by the PCC last year to expand youth diversionary work, which he says is vital to saving lives and preventing more young people becoming either victims or perpetrators of knife crime and violence.
Lord Bach said: “I’m delighted to offer this funding to the Melton Learning Hub to stop young people making the fatal mistake of carrying knives.
“The charity has a wealth of experience in reaching disengaged young people who are at risk of turning to crime or violence for want of a better alternative.
“As partners, we must start providing these alternative paths to stop the bloodshed on our streets and I’m very grateful for the hub’s help and insight into how we successfully do this.”
Sarah Cox, manager of the Melton Learning Hub, said: “The funding we have been granted by the PCC is a massive opportunity to work with young people to change this developing knife culture in our community.
“Melton Mowbray was recently placed the lowest nationally in a BBC poll looking at opportunities for young people.
“While this is a good place to live, all agencies recognise we need to do more to encourage and support our young people to achieve positive outcomes in their lives.
“Reducing peer violence and creating aspiration to achieve and progress to employment has to be the first step in that process.”
Police forces nationwide are currently involved in a week-long crackdown using surrender bins, stop and search tactics and weapons sweeps to address the surge in violence as part of Operation Sceptre.
The PCC believes more funding should be made available from the government for youth diversionary work and has written to Prime Minister, Theresa May, alongside other MPs and PCCs, demanding more investment and the addition of 10,000 extra police officers for Britain’s streets