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A £20,000 grant from Suffolk Community Foundation through Suffolk Police & Crime Commissioners Fund will continue and expand an existing pilot project in Ipswich helping young people at risk of getting involved in gangs, crime and anti-social behaviour.
The funding will enable our Ipswich Team to further develop its work through the Jubilee Mentoring Project offering mentoring support to young people aged between 11-19 years old in Ipswich. Building on the project’s ethos of using specially-trained former service users to become peer mentors, St Giles Trust will now be able to recruit a caseworker with direct experience of the criminal justice system who can be a credible role model to disadvantaged young people. The grant will also expand the project further across Ipswich.
St Giles Trust will be able to develop its existing preventative work in schools and pupil referral units. Particularly, it will tackle the issue of county lines where vulnerable young people are targeted and exploited by drug gangs to transport and deal drugs. This work will offer peer-led sessions from the mentors to highlight the issues around gangs, drugs, crime and sexual exploitation through offering young people tools and tips to identify risks and stay safe. Any young person at the sessions who is identified as being at risk will be offered one-to-one support from the mentors.
Over 12 months, the project will help 16 young people who need intensive mentoring support and reach many more through the preventative work in schools. It is a partnership project working closely with a range of agencies including the police, Ipswich Borough Council, the Youth Offending Service and Pupil Referral Units.
St Giles Trust Chief Executive Rob Owen O.B.E said:
“We are delighted that we have been able to continue and expand this vital work. All the evidence shows that early interventions to steer away young people at risk of getting involved crime, gangs and drugs have long-term benefits both for themselves and the wider community. In our experience, these interventions are best provided by those who know best how to help – those who have first-hand experiences of these issues which they can use to connect with some of the most disengaged young people who do not usually respond to offers of help and support. We are looking forward to working in Ipswich and continuing to make a difference.”