As the Foundation of Light’s anti-social behaviour intervention project YOLO, approaches its first birthday, the scheme continues to have an impact even during lockdown.
The programme, in partnership with Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner, helps the Foundation support youngsters who are at risk of slipping into a life of crime and prevents them from becoming involved in anti-social behaviour or serious youth violence.
Face-to-face sessions may have fallen victim to COVID-19, but youngsters have remained in touch with the team and have been engaging through WhatsApp.
Each week members of the group have been set a series of tasks to encourage them to engage with their families and become more community-minded; there’s also spot prizes for those who show the most initiative.
The latest challenge has seen the group decorating their windows with messages of support for the NHS and key workers, as the nation shows its appreciation for their endeavours during these unprecedented times.
Ben Cuthbertson from Northumbria Violence Reduction Unit explained: “Vulnerable young people need their support network now, more than ever before. The Foundation of Light are doing exactly this, despite the challenges we face, and ensuring their young people continue to be engaged and supported.
“This is a difficult and hard time for us all, especially young people who rely on services like this, so to see how they have adapted to continue to provide mentoring, advice and guidance, is extremely pleasing.
“The effects of lockdown are going to have a long-term impact, but through work like this, we reduce the chance of these young people falling back into a chaotic lifestyle. This intervention work is crucial to improving these young people’s lives, and preventing crime.”
The Foundation have hosted YOLO sessions alongside Northumbria Violence Reduction Unit for the past year, engaging 50 young people and providing mentoring support and diversionary activities.
Written By Kate Smith
1 May 2020