£500,000 for projects to help keep Camden young people safe

Camden schools and community organisations have been awarded £500,000 worth of grants for innovative two-year projects to help keep Camden young people safe.

The funding is shared between 12 projects, ranging from initiatives to prevent young people being permanently excluded from school to targeted youth outreach work with at risk groups, including young people involved in gangs, and programmes to help young people to develop life skills and employment skills.

The grants have been awarded by the Camden Youth Safety Fund, which was created by the Council following the Camden Youth Safety Taskforce report into the rise in knife crime in this borough and across London. Successful applicants to the fund had to show how they would help deliver the Youth Safety Taskforce report recommendations under the five headings of prevent, identify, support, disrupt and enforce.

The applications were given final approval on 6 June by Camden’s Youth Safety Steering Group - made up of the Council, police, voluntary youth sector, schools, public health and local politicians – following assessments by funding panels which included young people and community representatives.

Forty-six expressions of interest were received, with a total of £500,000 being awarded to 12 successful applicants – all two-year projects.

Among those to receive funding are the Somali Youth Development Resource Centre (SYDRC) and N1C Centre, which have been awarded £40,000 for a project to help reduce school exclusions for children aged 9 to 12 who might be at risk while preparing to move from primary to secondary school, or when they have recently started at secondary school.

Abdikadir Ahmed, SYDRC and N1C Centre youth services manager, said: “Resilience, inclusion and empowerment will be key to the success of this project, so that young children transition smoothly and coherently into secondary schools fully engaged and supported.”

Among the local schools to benefit from funding is Haverstock School, in Chalk Farm, which will work closely with the Camden Centre for Learning, to offer short-term specialist intervention in small groups for students from Camden’s mainstream secondary schools who might be at risk of permanent exclusion. The Camden Reintegration Base, aimed at students in Years 7 to 9, was awarded £45,000.

James Hadley, headteacher of Haverstock School, said: “We know that early support for the most vulnerable young people has the greatest impact so we are delighted that the Youth Safety Fund has agreed to support us to develop a high quality provision for those at risk of exclusion. The Camden Reintegration Base is the product of many months of collaborative planning between Camden headteachers and demonstrates the strength of collective moral purpose to make a difference to the whole Camden community.”

Coram’s Fields and Project 10-10’s Youth Programme has been given £30,000 by the Youth Safety Fund. The Youth Programme at Coram’s Fields has always sought to even the playing field for young people, to dismantle the societal inequalities that reduce the life chances of those from less fortunate backgrounds and to prepare them for a brighter future. Over the last couple of years, in response to the increase in youth violence and offending, their youth programme, in collaboration with Camden and Islington NHS Trust’s Project 10-10, has expanded to target and work with those who are at risk of involvement or already involved in criminality. Coram’s Fields said the grant from the Youth Safety Fund is “integral to our ability to continue delivering and further developing this work, which is diverting young people away from violent crime”.

Stuart Woods, CEO of Coram’s Fields, added: “Coram’s Fields is one of many local organisations tirelessly working to give young people better life chances and to stop them from making decisions which can ruin their and other people’s lives, sometimes irreversibly. Alongside our partner, Camden and Islington NHS Trust, we are having a transformational impact. There are young people now who are emotionally healthier, engaged in education or in gainful employment, when before they were a threat to community safety. This can’t happen without providing significant and intensive support to these young people and we are thrilled that Camden Council is investing in our Youth Programme through the Youth Safety Fund.”

The British Somali Community Centre (BSCC)’s Family Support Project was awarded £40,000. The BSCC will recruit a project co-ordinator and train volunteers to provide and signpost to relevant outreach support and advice service to families with children from early years upwards. The programme will include co-ordinating the provision of English as a second or additional language classes for adults, parenting courses and volunteering schemes with childcare provision. The project will work with the BSCC’s successful supplementary school and other youth projects. A Family Advisory Group will bring together parents, families and young people to focus on key issues.

Khadija Shireh, BSCC Director, said: “We’re a women-led organisation that has worked closely with Camden's children and families for 24 years through grassroots-driven initiatives. We are delighted to have been successful on the Youth Safety bid, particularly at this difficult time, having seen first-hand the devastating impact youth violence has had on the local families who frequent our services and are an integral part of our organisation. Through our Supplementary School, the Family Support Project and the Youth Safety Fund we will be able to continue working with families and other local organisations to create a safer environment for our young people and their families.”

A summary of the other eight projects which were awarded funding is set out below.

The Council’s Cabinet Member for Young People and Cohesion, Councillor Abdul Hai, who is Co-Chair of the Camden Youth Safety Steering Group along with local MP Keir Starmer, said:

“Congratulations to our 12 successful applicants and a huge thank you to everyone who took the time to apply to the Youth Safety Fund. The fund is helping us to act on the recommendations of the taskforce, which called for a whole community approach to tackle youth violence. We received 46 expressions of interest from an impressive range of organisations across the borough, once again demonstrating the commitment of people in Camden to working together in partnership to help keep our young people safe.”

Background information:

The other eight successful applications were:

Leap Confronting Conflict: Fear and Fashion - £40,000. Conflict management training and knife awareness for 18 to 25 year olds. Youth charity Leap Confronting Conflict and Camden Council’s youth early help team will work together to run a series of workshops for young people identified through early help, the Council’s youth offending team, detached youth workers and other agencies. These young people will be supported to deliver knife awareness training to schools, youth hubs and community centres across the borough.

GOAL: Reach Higher - £40,000. Led by Queen’s Crescent Community Association, this project will focus on equipping young people aged 13 to 19 with business, entrepreneurial and life skills to help them find work or start their own business in the future.

The Winch: Growing Systems for Safety - £30,000. A part-time outreach worker will engage 200 young people, supported by The Winch’s youth team (match-funded). Together, they will deliver 105 after-school outreach sessions around Swiss Cottage and Haverstock Hill, and 35 detached sessions, with the aim of engaging young people identified as being at risk of involvement in youth violence or the illicit economy.

Camden Safer Neighbourhood Board: Camden Youth Independent Advisors (YIAs) - £45,000. Two part-time youth workers will develop, train and support youth independent advisors (YIAs). The YIAs will work with the police to engage young people in youth venues across Camden. This will include training and awareness-raising for young people on the issue of police ‘stop and search’ methods. YIA members will also support the work of Camden’s Stop and Search Monitoring Group by sampling and viewing police body-worn camera footage. The YIA will also question senior officers about police use of stop and search and develop publicity materials to help promote their project. The aim is for more young people to become aware of their rights, as well as helping to promote active citizenship among young people so they are encouraged to get involved in crime reduction, crime prevention and community safety initiatives across Camden.

Acland Burghley School: Prevent, Support, Disrupt - £25,000. This project includes workshops by Chris Preddie OBE to raise awareness of the consequences which stem from choices made and dealing with conflict; after-school sport sessions aimed at a targeted group of students; a new early intervention and prevention co-ordinator role in school; programme of support for Somali students at the school.

William Ellis School: Vulnerable Students in Schools - £20,000. The project will involve researchers undertaking an in-depth analysis of William Ellis School’s student data to create a vulnerability index so that schools and other professionals who work with young people have a more sophisticated understanding of what makes young people vulnerable to violence and exclusion, and the potential for effective early intervention.

Camden Learning – developing trauma informed practice in all Camden schools - £100,000. This funding has been allocated so that trauma informed practice can be developed across all Camden’s secondary and primary schools via our school improvement partner, Camden Learning. The programme will enable teachers to recognise trauma and its impact and so gain greater insight into children and young people’s behaviour so they can teach and manage this behaviour better. This in turn should help our schools to avoid resorting to fixed-term and permanent exclusions of pupils who have challenging behaviour. The programme is due to start from September.

Camden Council - Sport and Physical Activity Service: Sports Leadership Day Release Programme - £40,000. This will be a day-release programme for 16 pupils, aged 14 to 16, per year who are at risk of exclusion and would benefit from an alternative education option to support them to remain in mainstream school. Funding will cover tutor and staffing costs, sports uniform, course equipment and resources as well as external nationally recognised and accredited qualifications. Four schools have already been identified to take part but the programme could be offered to other schools who are interested.

The Youth Safety Steering Group and the Council are still looking at ways to fund more projects from other potential sources. Some of these successful applicants have also secured matched funding to help support their projects.

Other youth safety projects already underway:

The Youth Safety Steering Group also heard a report at their meeting on 6 June about the success of ‘ENGAGE’, a project which has been running across Camden and Islington since February with £200,000 Home Office funding. ENGAGE is run by Camden Council’s youth offending service in partnership with the Metropolitan Police’s detention service. Three youth offending team workers have been employed to see all under 18s detained in Holborn and Islington custody suites with the aim of reaching them at a ‘teachable moment’ and help set these young people on more positive paths, such as education, employment or training. Since its launch, ENGAGE has seen over 80 children and young people. Follow-up meetings are arranged, with the young person’s consent, within 48 hours and a whole family approach is taken to help address issues at home that may have contributed to the actions which got the young person arrested.