A PROJECT to prevent boys from spiralling towards chaotic lives of violence has been backed with funding from Cleveland Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) Steve Turner.
Boys in Blue (BiB) aims to improve the life chances of boys, aged nine to 14 by raising aspirations, building confidence, discussing mental health issues and improving relationships between the police and young people.
Backing the project, Cleveland PCC Steve Turner, awarded BIB £11,003 from his Serious Violence Fund, which was launched this summer.
Steve said: “For too many boys in our area, the risk of descending into chaotic lives of violence and self-destruction is all too real.
“That’s why I’m funding Boys in Blue. It’s a project that aims to improve life chances, address the issues that lead to crime and violence and, ultimately, make our communities safer places.
“Boys aged nine to 14 and residents living in East Middlesbrough will benefit directly from Boys in Blue.
“Wider society will also benefit from early interventions focused on preventing crime and violence. By preventing crime from happening in the first place, we will also reduce the pressure and costs arising from rehabilitation.
“Delivering early, meaningful interventions within this community will provide young boys with opportunities and experiences which challenge adversity and empower them to make good choices and lead healthy, happy lives.”
BIB is run by charity Community Ventures Tees Valley (CVTV) and meets weekly in Thorntree, Middlesbrough.
The funding allows CVTV to build on the work of the Boro pilot supported by Cleveland Police and Youth Focus North East.
CVTV is based in the TS3 postcode. It has one of the most extreme pockets of deprivation and unemployment and one of the shortest life expectancies in the Tees Valley. As a result, violence and crime are increasing, particularly among younger residents.
The charity gets valuable insights from community, which help staff to develop future projects.
Increased demand for projects
Over the past six months, there has been an increased demand for projects from young people in Thorntree.
At the same time, a number of older residents have told the charity that they feel increasingly unsafe in their community.
Rachel Gault, Community Ventures Operations Director, said: “Having delivered the six-week Boys in Blue pilot alongside Cleveland Police and Youth Focus North East, we realised quickly how needed the project was in Thorntree, Middlesbrough.
“With a minimum of 10 boys, aged nine to 14, attending the weekly pilot sessions, we engaged with them to understand their issues, challenges and hopes.
“We are delighted the PCC team has decided to fund the project and are excited about the impact the project will have on the boys and Thorntree community”.
BIB’s weekly sessions are delivered by experienced staff in a safe environment. They encourage boys to talk, learn, make friends, and have fun.
The focus is on educating and empowering young boys to:
- Understand, manage and resolve conflicts
- Cope with peer pressure
- Make good decisions
- Understand the consequences, which come from choices involving violence, crime, weapons and gangs
- Learn wellbeing and relaxation techniques