THE Changing Lives Project based in Harlow has successfully secured £10,000 of funding from the Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner to support young people and reduce crime and anti-social behaviour in Harlow.
The Project was established in 2018 by David Simmons (Flick Trick Sports) and Ben Doyle (SK Sports) and aims to provide positive, sports based activities to engage young people and keep them away from a life of crime. The Project works across different schools in Harlow and with Essex Police and Harlow Council to identify young people that are vulnerable to criminal exploitation. The project offers them free sports taster sessions combined with focused mentoring.
Roger Hirst, Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner for Essex said: “Providing engaging and tailored activity to young people, who are vulnerable to being exploited by criminal gangs can drastically reduce the risk of them getting involved in criminal activity. With less people involved in gangs it is harder for them to commit crime, cause anti-social behaviour and exploit the vulnerable. Tackling the root causes of these problems will help create the safer and more secure communities we all want.
“This project will help to support vulnerable children and crack down on gangs and organised crime both of which are key priorities in the Police and Crime Plan.”
The sessions provided are allocated based on a young person’s needs with a variety of local groups involved including Flick Trick Sports, Harlow Rugby club, SK Sports, Integrity, Canons Brook Golf Club, Essex Cricket and Kazen Kai Martial Arts. Changing Lives also works closely with the NHS Harlow to run educational workshops involving dental care, eating healthily and keeping safe. Students that are involved in the project also engage in First Aid workshops as well as apprenticeship opportunities and employment after education.
David Simmons and Ben Doyle Directors of Changing Lives said: “Since we set up the project in 2018 we have worked with over a thousand young people across the district providing a range of different sporting activities, educational assemblies, sports camps, mentoring sessions and 1:1 workshops. It is really positive that many of the vulnerable young people we worked with early on in the project are now living safer lives, changing other people’s lives and becoming mentors within the project. This extra funding, along with the support from Essex Police, will help us to reach even more young people over the coming years.
“A key focus for us is ensuring we are reaching the right children and offering the right support. The more we can work with schools, councils, NHS and the police the better targeted we can make our services and the bigger difference we can make in Harlow and surrounding areas.
“We collect children that have been referred to us from the schools by mini bus so gang members cannot recruit from outside school, we also drop the children home or back to school after the project to provide a safe environment for the children.”
Vic Butler, Co- Principal of Mark Hall Academy said “Since arriving at Mark Hall Academy, Changing Lives have continued to do just that. Their main strategic role, includes every single aspect of behaviour management, intervention, alternative curriculum planning, delivery and quality assurance.”
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