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West Kent Extra’s (WKE) groundbreaking No Bother programme, which uses an innovative approach to keep young people from getting involved in criminal behaviour, has won grant support to expand into new areas.
WKE, the community development arm of West Kent, is one of 16 groups across Kent to have won a share of £40,000 from the Youth Diversion Fund set up by Kent Police and Crime Commissioner Ann Barnes in April.
Groups had to show how their scheme would divert young people from crime or anti-social behaviour, address potential risk-taking behaviours and engage with vulnerable and hard-to-reach groups.
The No Bother programme works with young people aged 13 to 17 who are at risk of exclusion due to crime and anti-social behaviour, and the funding will support nine schemes over the next three years in Ashford, Maidstone, Medway and Sevenoaks.
Youth Work Manager Keith Rowell said: “The project helps young people understand how peer pressure influences attitudes and choices relating to violence and aggression, anti-social behaviour and crime. We aim to explore the consequences of these so that young people can develop their own individual coping strategies to deal with various situations.”
Mrs Barnes commented: "I am very pleased at the quality of the responses we received, many of which exactly met what the fund was set up to support. I am very hopeful that during the next few months I can visit some of the projects that the fund is helping, to find out first-hand what is being achieved.”
No Bother also benefits serving and ex-offenders by training them to help design and deliver the programme and mentor the young people. It was awarded £4,000 from the Youth Diversion Fund.
“Current and ex-offenders are well suited to deliver this programme. They can make sure that the message gets home to young people who are in danger of finding themselves in a similar situation,” explained Keith.
More local news at the Kent newsdesk.
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