Denise Hatton, Chief Executive of YMCA England & Wales, responds to Home Office announcement of £130.5 million investment to tackle serious violence, murder and knife crime
“YMCA welcomes the latest announcement from the Home Office, particularly the £23 million investment in vital early intervention programmes in order to stop young people from being drawn into violence and offer support at a critical moment in their lives.
Early intervention and understanding the pressures and fears that young people face are vital to combating violent crime at the source. The release of this fund shows a clear commitment to take this issue seriously and target the root causes of these issues for young people.
YMCA also welcomes the announcement of £1.6m to pilot a Creating Opportunities Forum to support young people at risk of serious violence in accessing employment opportunities. This pilot will play a vital role in providing them with the confidence and opportunity to avoid being drawn into a life of crime.
As a provider of training and education to more than 28,000 young people each year, YMCA understands the importance and influence this can have on their lives. The Government is right to invest in supporting those who may be more likely to be drawn towards crime due to lack of opportunity and adverse financial situations.
However, while this intervention is critical, young people also need a place to go where they can belong, where they have access to trusted mentors and the opportunity to come together with peers outside of school and develop their personal growth.
Sitting alongside these two approaches, we must see a re-investment from Government in youth services that provide such opportunities alongside these two approaches. We know all too well that if a young person falls into the wrong group, they are unfortunately likely to stay there.
However, with universal and targeted youth services available, we stand a fighting chance of getting to them before it is too late.”
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