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14 May 2012
The Realising Ambition programme will improve the life chances of around 250,000 eight to 14-year-olds and reduce first time offending.
Following a Big Lottery Fund investment of £25 million, 25 innovative crime-prevention projects will be scaled up and rolled out across the UK. The tried and tested interventions are presently operating in the UK or internationally and have a strong track record or have been proven to work in improving the life chances of young people. The diverse range of projects have been identified, compiled and verified by Catch22, working with a consortium of social and youth organisations including Young Foundation, Social Research Unit, Substance and Rathbone.
The projects will be delivered by charities in a range of settings, including schools, communities and within families, targeting young people living in disadvantaged areas or considered at risk of offending due to different factors, from bereavement to family instability or living in gang-afflicted communities.
They have a range of different focuses, all aiming to help young people avoid common paths into offending and anti-social behaviour. These include increasing academic engagement, preventing substance misuse, teaching alternatives to conflict, aggression and violence, and challenging prejudice.
Some of the projects will work with targeted groups of young people who are already exhibiting signs of problematic behaviour such as aggression and violence toward peers or loved ones.
LifeSkills Training Programme
The Lifeskills training programme is a substance abuse and violence-prevention programme, which has proved successful in the US and will be delivered in schools across the UK for the first time with the support of £1.5 million Lottery funding.
The LifeSkills Training Programme has been used extensively in the US and was recommended by Graham Allen MP in his 2011 independent review of early intervention.
As part of the programme, teachers are trained to deliver intensive schools-based sessions for young people to give them the confidence and skills to successfully handle challenging situations and learn alternatives to ‘risky’ behaviour.
Backed by over 30 scientific studies, LifeSkills has been shown in the US to reduce the prevalence of tobacco, alcohol, and illicit drug use by up to as much as 87% and verbal or physical aggression by up to 50%. It also has projected savings to society of £12.78 for every £1 spent on the programme.
Respect Young People's Programme
National domestic violence prevention charity Respect is being funded to roll out its Respect Young People’s Programme, which aims to target 11 to 14-year-olds who are showing violence and abuse towards parents, siblings, peers or ‘dating’ partners, the early onset of which can be a precursor to other forms of criminality and offending behaviour, research suggests.
Respect will use Lottery funding of £808,556 to run the programme in the North East, North West and South East regions of England, delivering structured sessions to young people and parents exploring violence and its effects, emotional control and awareness, and challenging negative attitudes about rights and roles in relationships.
All of the projects will be rigorously tested and evaluated over the next five years so that they can provide solid insight into how society can work more effectively to help young people and prevent anti-social behaviour and youth offending in future.