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FUNDRAISE

Pioneering community-based mentoring programme to support young people most at risk of involvement in serious violence

The Y has been selected as the lead provider in the launch of a new community mentoring project called Chance 2 Change (C2C). The Y will work with local partners to support young people to turn away from street-based violence.

Paul Brown, Chief Executive of The Y, said: “At The Y, we are clear about the role we can play in supporting our partners to address serious violent crime in Leicester & Leicestershire.  Our extensive experience of designing and delivering projects that engage young people will be used as a foundation to ensure that this initiative makes a real difference in our community.

We understand the challenges that young people face and how negative influences impact on their choices and this project will address these and offer young people positive alternatives for change.”

Mentors will work to encourage positive social norms and dispel myths and stereotypes around issues such as masculinity, gangs and weapon carrying. They will also offer emotional support and aim to improve young people’s social skills, supporting them to navigate and access support across the system in order to achieve their goals.

The Chance 2 Change project is funded by Leicester City Council, Police and Crime Commissioner for Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland, Charnwood Community Safety Partnership and Leicester’s Violence Reduction Network (VRN). The project, launched in Spring 2022 represents part of Leicester’s knife crime and serious violence strategy.

Cllr Kirk Master, Leicester’s assistant city mayor for neighbourhoods, said: “I’m really pleased that we are funding this new service, which is unique – as was our approach to the strategy, by engaging and using co-designing models with communities. By working together in this way, we can support young people at risk of knife crime to turn their lives around.”

Grace Strong, Director of the Violence Reduction Network (VRN), said: “We are investing in this project because we believe communities are in an ideal position to reach young people most affected by violence. A core aim of the VRN is to better understand what is effective in preventing and reducing violence affecting young people.”

Rupert Matthews, Police and Crime Commissioner for Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland and Chair of the Violence Reduction Board, said: “No organisation can solve violence on its own. This project is partnership working at its best and utilises the expertise and experience of a collection of agencies to secure the best outcomes for young people.”

Cllr Leigh Harper-Davies, Lead Member for Community Support at Charnwood Borough Council, said: “We are delighted to support The Y and its new mentoring project. This offers new opportunities to intervene early with young people who are at risk of experiencing violence and alter the path they are on for the better. By increasing resilience through mentoring and developing relationships with young people, we can help them to resist negative influences and make more informed choices.”

Young people will be able to self-refer to the scheme or be referred by a partner organisation, family or community link. Visit the C2C project page for more information.

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