Changing Lives net £20,000 cash boost from Essex Violence and Vulnerability Unit

Communities / Thu 24th Aug 2023 at 08:44am

OVER 130 young people in Harlow have been given the opportunity to unlock a brighter future with the aid of an Essex Violence and Vulnerability Unit (VVU) grant to the charity Changing Lives.

The VVU awarded Changing Lives Harlow £20,000 to help deter young people from participating in anti-social behaviour and getting involved with gangs, through a series of uplifting sports sessions and workshops on life skills.

Last year, Changing Lives received £250,000 from the National Lottery.

Roger Hirst, Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner for Essex and Chair of the Essex Violence and Vulnerability Partnership thanked Changing Lives Harlow for their work to prevent and keep young and vulnerable people away from crime.

Mr. Hirst said: “Tackling drug driven violence and protecting young and vulnerable people are key priorities in my Police and Crime Plan. By working with partners across Essex, through the Violence and Vulnerability Partnership, we have invested heavily in helping young and vulnerable people stay away from crime. Positive prevention activity, such as this, combined with robust action against the hardened criminals who exploit vulnerable people and bring violence into our communities is working and we are seeing a steady decline in drug driven violence across Essex.

“Working with specialist organisations based within communities is an important way to deliver highly targeted support for the people at risk. It is great to see the positive impact Changing Lives Harlow are having in their community and I am pleased to be able to offer our support through this grant funding.

“By working together, we can make safer, secure communities for all.”

The Changing Lives project receives referrals from a variety of organisations, including the Youth Offending Team, and run assemblies and workshops to support the most vulnerable young people, including Leadership Training, FA Training into Sport, and Trade skills. Young people can also get involved in music and life skills programmes through the project.

Ben Doyle, Co-Director of Changing Lives Harlow, said: “Funding from the VVU really helped us to support the young people who need our services. We’re passionate about helping young people to change their lives, showing them that they can use the skills and interests that they have already to create a bright and positive future.”

The Changing Lives project worked with young people who had been involved in criminal activity, including drug use and supply and carrying offensive weapons. The project diverted these young people from criminal activities to a range of sport and trade skills. As a result, young people were reengaged in education or training, showed improvement in their emotional and mental wellbeing, and felt happier within six weeks of the programme starting.

Councillor Louise McKinlay, Deputy Leader & Cabinet Member for Levelling Up, Communities and the Economy at Essex County Council, said: “I’m proud to see the Essex Violence and Vulnerability Unit supporting so many great organisations that help our children and young people across Essex. Changing Lives Harlow is making a real difference to our vulnerable children and young people.”

New Essex Violence and Vulnerability Unit grants are available for activities in 2024-2025. Further details can be found at www.essexvvu.co.uk/news/.

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