Big Brother Burngreave in Sheffield have received funding from the South Yorkshire Violence Reduction Unit to provide a mentoring scheme aimed at supporting young people aged between 12 to 20-years old.
The young people attend sessions every week for three hours playing football, basketball and multi-sports. The sessions also include workshops discussing mental health, peer pressure, family and self-development.
Safiya Saeed from Reach Up, the organisation providing the Big Brother Burngreave project said: “We engage with the young people on the streets or from referrals from other organisations such as social care, support services and schools. We actively engage in hard-hitting conversations on knife crime to understand it from those most affected.
“This funding will help us communicate with local parents and young people who have been excluded from school or exploited. We apply our advanced knowledge and ability to relate to the communities involved and most affected by violent crime, with wider audiences.”
The £11,730 funding from the South Yorkshire Violence Reduction Fund will purchase different coloured t-shirts that will show the level of achievement of the young person in the programme.
A small documentary will be also be produced about how young people feel and what actions they think need to be taken to prevent and reduce violence. The film will raise awareness of the realities and changing attitudes towards violence, its victims and the causes.
Dr Alan Billings, South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner and Chair of the South Yorkshire Violence Reduction Unit Executive Board visited the project on Thursday, 20 February. He said: “It is worrying that in the last few years some young people have been carrying knives and have been drawn into violent behaviour.
“Being able to engage with young people through initiatives like Big Brother, Burngreave, is a first step in understanding what lies behind this and how, therefore, we can overcome it.
“We need to help young people realise that the perception that everyone is carrying a knife is untrue, it is only a perception. And we need them to understand that those who do carry blades are more at risk than those who don’t, not least because some have had their own knives used against them.
“I look forward to seeing the finished documentary. It will allow us all to understand the pressures and challenges some of our young people face today.”