A series of new and established youth projects in Nottingham are helping to reduce knife crime in the city.

Latest police figures show knife crime has fallen by 18.9% in the last year.

Nottingham City Council has remained committed to funding key youth projects – in the face of reduced budgets and financial challenges – to ensure that tackling youth violence remains a priority.

This commitment was rewarded today (10 Oct) with an announcement that the city council has been successful in a bid for £300k per year for the next three years to extend its team of dedicated officers who work with young people.

The grant has been made by the Home Office’s Youth Endowment Fund to pay for Multi-systemic Therapy (MST) officers who take a targeted approach to working with whole families in order to support young people aged 10-14 who are at risk of getting involved in serious youth violence and criminal exploitation.

Cllr David Mellen, Leader of Nottingham City Council, said: “Knife crime and youth violence remain a top priority for me, the council and our partners – and it’s clear that our collective efforts are starting to have an effect.

“We are getting better at identifying people who might be most at risk of knife crime and targeting our resources directly to them, and others around them who need support to avoid getting involved in violence themselves.

“The latest funding announcement will ensure our successful MST team can continue to work with even more young people and their families to stop their offending from escalating. In Nottingham, we are committed to ensuring vital youth work is continued, rather than cut, in the city – despite the ongoing financial challenges we face.

“This is another step in the right direction – but there is still much work to do. We can never be complacent because knife crime has a devastating impact on the victims and their families, on those carrying and using knives and their families, and on our wider communities.

“We are aware that the majority of knife crime involves those over 18 – we are trying to get in early with our young people but this alone will not solve the problem. It is clear that we all have a part to play to continue to reduce and remove knife crime from our streets.”

The council prioritises the work it carries out with partners in Nottinghamshire Police, voluntary organisations and local communities.

In particular, the City council’s Play and Youth Service is working closely with the Youth Justice Services Exploitation and Violence Reduction Hub and Area Based Grant providers, to ensure young people at increased risk of knife crime are provided with the right support at the right time. This includes targeted work for those deemed more at risk, through to universal services, provided with the support of community partners.

The Exploitation and Violence Reduction Hub is also bringing together a team of targeted youth support workers, PCSOs and Play and Youth staff and other support workers who provide intervention/consultation to children and young people within the city identified at risk of criminal exploitation or youth violence.

This includes a Young Man’s Group aimed at young boys aged 13-16 years who are struggling within education, are already on a reduced timetable and at risk of offending behaviour – as well as a Girls Group aimed at young girls at risk of criminal exploitation and/or youth violence.

Other youth work projects include:

You Can programme:

The programme aims to promote leadership skills and positive attitudes and is delivered in partnership with NGY and works with 16 and 17 year olds who are not in education, training or employment and at risk of criminal behaviour. The first programme started in June 2019 for 15 young people.

Skill Mill:

The Youth Justice Service are currently developing the skill mill, a not-for-profit social enterprise that supports young people into paid training and employment (for six months) to break the cycle of criminal activity. The young people can contribute to their local community and start making positive changes to their lives.

Mental Health Support Teams:

Two new Mental Health Support Teams will work with schools in Nottingham to provide support, care and interventions for children and young people who are experiencing mild to moderate mental health problems, with possible links to crime and violence.

Street Aware:

Street Aware sessions are being given to primary and secondary school pupils to talk about key safety issues – during general assemblies to more targeted work with smaller groups at risk of exclusion. These have included the Safety Zone weeks to Year 6 pupils.