Violence prevention partners gathered at Nottingham Forest Football Club to celebrate the launch of a six-figure fund to help drive young people away from crime.
Natalie Baker-Swift, Head of the Nottingham and Nottinghamshire Violence Reduction Unit (VRU), and Maxine Cockett, Chief Executive of youth charity Breaking Barriers, Building Bridges (BBBB), were special guests at Nottingham Forest’s fourth round FA cup tie against Leicester City yesterday (Sunday 6 February) which saw the home side triumph 4-1.
They were invited by Graham Moran BEM, Chief Executive of Nottingham Forest Community Trust (NFCT) – a charity working in close partnership with Nottinghamshire Police and Crime Commissioner Caroline Henry, BBBB, Nottingham BID and VRU to de-escalate potentially serious violent incidents to make young people and the city centre streets safer.
The event supported the launch of Commissioner Henry’s £1million funding jackpot for community and third sector organisations that support her goals to tackle crime as part of her Make Notts Safe grant scheme.
The first thematic funding round will inject £270,000 into Youth Diversion between May 2022 and March 2025 and demonstrates the value community partners bring to violence reduction.
It will see the Commissioner and VRU supporting an array of projects and initiatives with multi-year grants to divert young people away from crime and antisocial behaviour as part of her wider ambition to prevent crime and violence.
In addition, a Make Notts Safe Community Chest has been unveiled to provide short-term funding of between six months and one year and an Innovation Fund to enable grassroots organisations to pilot and evaluate new and innovative activity to tackle crime.
The Commissioner and VRU are proud of the longstanding partnership with NFCT and were grateful for the opportunity to promote the new funding schemes.
Commissioner Henry said: “Nottingham Forest FC is at heart of local life and the perfect setting to launch our shared ambitions for making our communities safer.
“It is critical we maintain funding and support for early intervention and prevention because evidence shows it works. Latest data reveals Nottinghamshire has one of the lowest homicide rates in the country (39th out of 43 forces) and currently the lowest rate of homicide seen on record in Nottinghamshire. Our neighbouring counties see three times this rate.
“None of these results are possible without the VRU’s strong partnership ethic and a relentless focus on identifying risks early to give young people the support they need to change course before it is too late.”
Natalie Baker-Swift, Head of the VRU, said: “I am grateful to Graham and the wider partnership team for their continued support of our work.
“Since the VRU launched, we have made great strides in reducing serious violence, engaging with vulnerable, hard-to-reach young people who not only risk becoming caught up in the justice system but are often victims of serious crimes themselves.
“There is so much more to do. The Commissioner’s Youth Diversion funding will be vital to these efforts and will help us to intervene at the earliest opportunity to protect more children and young people, both now and in the future.”
NFCT was commissioned by the OPCC and VRU to work alongside specialist youth organisation BBBB to make the city centre’s streets safer for young people.
BBBB deploys an outreach team of youth workers – many of whom have lived experience of street violence – into areas of the city where youths regularly meet and congregate to deliver street mediation services and disrupt suspected gang activity as well as sign post young people to support services to prevent them being lured into violence.
In 2020 alone, 288 violence reduction sessions were delivered across 1,152 hours.
A recent review led by Professor Lucy Betts, Dr Sarah Buglass and Rosie Daly from the Department of Psychology at Nottingham Trent University found a correlation between a reduction in reports of violence in the Clumber Street area of the city and the time the team operated.
Graham Moran BEM, Chief Executive of NFCT, said: “Nottingham Forest Community Trust was delighted to welcome VRU Head Natalie Baker-Swift and Maxine Cockett , CEO of Breaking Barriers, Building Bridges (BBBB), to our game with Leicester City on Sunday to support the launch of the Make Notts Safe fund and to celebrate the positive collaboration between the PCC, VRU and BBBB in helping to reduce the levels of knife crime in Nottingham.
“With a crowd of around 29,000 at the game, we were delighted to profile all the great work going on in our city in front of so many Nottingham people.”
For more information on the Youth Diversion funding and to apply visit: https://www.nottinghamshire.pcc.police.uk/Our-Money/Grants-and-Funding/Make-Notts-Safe-Grants-2022-25/Youth-Diversion.aspx
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