Changing young people's lives for the better
Today is International Youth Day, to raise awareness of the challenges and problems facing young people, as well as serving as an annual celebration of the role of young women and men as essential partners in change.
With funding from Police & Crime Commissioner Katy Bourne, Sussex Police is working with NHS Partnership Trust, Youth Offending Service and local charities in order to deliver REBOOT: the first county-wide early youth intervention programme of its kind in the UK.
This five-stage referral process engages young people in activities of interest to them, and away from negative behaviour they may be displaying within their community. It is a non-criminal approach to diversion that invests in young people’s futures with dedicated youth coaches who will work with them to tackle problems they face.
Sophie, 14, from West Sussex, was referred to REBOOT after being identified as having nine risk factors, which included smoking and buying cannabis, temporary exclusions from school and ‘hanging out’ with a negative peer group known to be causing anti-social behaviour (ASB).
She was assigned a youth coach, and since then she has not been identified as getting involved in any criminal behaviour. She has started kickboxing sessions and plans to join a local youth club in the coming weeks.
Success stories like the above are not unusual, as REBOOT continues to invest in the young people of Sussex who may just need some early guidance to get on the right path.
Sussex PCC, Katy Bourne comments: “The reality is that some young people are vulnerable to exploitation. I am committed to safeguarding them and giving them opportunities they otherwise wouldn’t have. The REBOOT approach is clearly working. Not only does it empower young people to make better decisions but it also educates them on the consequences of their actions.”