More than 700 youngsters have taken part in a new project aimed at boosting confidence and self-esteem and preventing crime.
Ilkeston-based Direct Help and Advice (DHA) received £25,000 from Derbyshire Police and Crime Commissioner Alan Charles through the fifth round of his Crime Prevention Grant to tackle youth crime and antisocial behaviour.
On Thursday, March 17 the training and advice charity presented Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner, Hardyal Dhindsa, with a report detailing its success over the past 12 months and the positive outcomes it has already achieved under its Youth Central in the Community programme.
Mr Dhindsa said: “Young people are the voice of our future and it’s important that we invest time, money and resources into projects that not only help to educate them but also provide young people with an opportunity to shine and recognise their skills and qualities.
“We need to guide young people to make the right decisions and the best way to do this is by showing them what they can achieve with hard work and dedication.
“The value of this project is evident by the sheer volume of young people reached in such a short space of time.”
This scheme involved engaging with young people in the Ilkeston area before negative patterns of behaviour emerged and the project has exceeded initial expectations and has engaged with 760 young people since its launch - well beyond the 200 target number of people.
The organisation delivered 72 sessions on a range of topics and were aimed at providing the young people with the right knowledge and tools to make lawful lifestyle choices and to prevent antisocial behaviour and crime.
In December, 65 young volunteers were honoured for their participation in the project during two celebration events. Many of the youngsters who benefited from the sessions were on-hand to meet Mr Dhindsa during his visit.
The project, which was delivered within the budget at £24,975, continues to be in high-demand and currently 300 people are waiting to engage on a future programme. Organisers are currently looking into further avenues of funding.