The Exodus Project have been awarded funding from the South Yorkshire Violence Reduction Unit to open two new clubs in Barnsley to work with young people to steer them away from destructive lifestyle choices.

The £18,046 funding will enable the development work necessary to sustain the existing clubs in South Hiendley, Darfield, Cudworth, Staincross, Bank End, Worsbrough Common and Town Centre, whilst developing two new groups in Brierley.

Martin Sawdon, Project Manager at the Exodus Project said: “The programmes that we provide are great fun, as well as educational. We offer dance, drama, craft, music and sports to entertain the young people and build trusting relationships.

“There is an educational aspect to all our activity clubs that aims to grow citizenship skills and remind the young people of their responsibilities towards others living in their communities.

“We cater for children aged eight to eleven-years in primary school.  These children progress to our youth groups for age 11-years to 15-years.  When the young people get too old for the youth groups, they sustain their involvement with us as junior leaders.

“In many of the communities where we work, young people have low expectations when it comes to social and economic prosperity.

“Once these attitudes are entrenched, behaviours emerge that include anti-social behaviour, violence and youth nuisance.  This can then lead to increased crime.  Our unique relationship based approach is effective in addressing these challenges.”

The funding from the South Yorkshire Violence Reduction Fund will deliver 15 activity clubs for young people in less advantaged communities around Barnsley.

Superintendent Lee Berry, Joint Head of the South Yorkshire Violence Reduction Unit said: “Funding for youth provision is extremely important in our challenge to reduce and prevent violence.

“The Exodus Project engage with young people to educate them on the importance of building their future.  They provide them with a fun and secure place to understand positive choices using primary prevention techniques to steer them away from choosing a lifestyle that could result in them being involved in violence.”

Mark Miller, Barnsley Area Manager from the South Yorkshire Violence Reduction Unit recently attended the South Hiendley session on an evening when the young people were about to watch YouTube videos educating them on avoiding negative peer pressure, manipulation and involvement in criminal activity.