School and college summer holidays are fast approaching and our young people will be looking for ways to pass the time if they are not studying or in employment.
Through my Be Part of the Solution campaign, I am committed to helping young people achieve their full potential through making sensible choices and accessing support.
Through the campaign, I am once again funding a range of diversionary projects for young people that will run during the summer holidays.
The positive and long-term impact of these schemes can be impressive. They challenge young people to exceed their own expectations, build confidence and social skills while distracting them from getting involved in crime and anti-social behaviour (ASB).
Prevention plays a key role in reducing offending among young people and is preferable and cheaper than law enforcement through policing and the wider criminal justice system.
I am proud to support a number of local schemes that have proven to be successful in reducing incidents of ASB.
The Gosport Summer Passport scheme is run by the Gosport Community Safety Partnership and is a diversionary programme for young people of secondary school age.
The scheme targets hard-to-reach young people and encourages them to participate in local activities and to access local services following participation in the scheme.
A similar programme is Access All Areas, run by the Fareham Community Safety Partnership. This initiative runs during the summer holidays and aims to develop and build upon partnerships between agencies.
These two schemes complement other initiatives in the Portsmouth and wider area.
Pompey in the Community’s Your Street programme has successfully engaged almost 600 young people aged 9-21, significantly reducing the likelihood of their involvement in ASB, crime and reoffending. This is achieved through weekly physical activity and arts-based programmes.
The Leigh Park Project utilises the power of community sport, arts and cultural activity to engage young people, with a focus on those already known to the Youth Justice System or at risk of entering it.
These interventions support young people to have a voice within their community, build improved positive relationships with local residents, promoting change that enables them to be part of the solution and not stereotypically seen as the problem.