The South Yorkshire Violence Reduction Unit (VRU) has visited Ad Astra.

Ad Astra provide activities for young people in the St Helens Ward of Barnsley. They aim to build resilience in young people by increasing their self-esteem and self-confidence through their personal and social education programme.

This work has been supported by nearly £14,000 of funding provided by the VRU through its Violence Reduction Fund.

This focuses on supporting young people aged 4-25, providing positive diversionary activities, role models, and mental health support, to prevent them from becoming involved in violence.

Commenting, Rachel Sharpe from Ad Astra Barnsley said: “In 2013 three experienced youth and community workers decided to form Ad Astra Barnsley.

“Ad Astra was formed to support the health and wellbeing of children and young people. Our aim was to raise their aspirations and help direct them to a happier, healthier life. Ten years on we have managed to secure funding to work in the North Area, North East Area, Penistone, and Central wards.

“Ad Astra work with and support over 200 children and young people each week. The organisation delivers school support sessions, workshops, assemblies, after school clubs and youth clubs to the children and young people of Barnsley.

“The VRU funding will support young people at the New Lodge community hub. One session will be a weekly youth club and another a mental health dance project.

“The sessions aim to promote positive health and wellbeing through social engagement, support, creativity, and education. It’s a chance for young people to be in a safe, welcoming, and inclusive environment.”

Graham Jones, Head of the South Yorkshire Violence Reduction Unit said: “The VRU takes a Public Health Approach, and part of that approach involves attempting to stop violence before it starts, through early intervention with young people.

“Community youth work is an important part of that, delivering positive engagement and activities with young people on the ground, which is why the VRU has supported Ad Astra and other youth work providers to support delivery of this provision.”

Find out more about the funding the VRU has provided to Ad Astra here.