Keeping local children off the streets and safely out of trouble

21/08/2019

The long Summer school holidays can be stressful times, especially for families on low income. Research shows many children are hungry, isolated and inactive during this time. This places them in the ‘at risk’ category of getting involved in low-level criminality or being vulnerable to exploitation.

As part of Police & Crime Commissioner Katy Bourne's Early Intervention Youth Programme, REBOOT, funding was given to five identified ‘hot spot’ areas across Sussex. Hastings received £20,000 of this money to bolster existing youth services and activities to help keep local children off the streets and safely out of trouble.

With some of this money, Active Hastings were able to continue their  ‘Street Bite’ summer workshops providing positive diversionary activities and a free meal to deprived and low income families.

Mrs Bourne comments: “The summer holidays can be tough for all parents, but especially those on a low income. That's why the summer workshops offered by Street Bite are so vital. Parents can bring their children along confident in the knowledge that they will be safe, well entertained and fed with a nutritious meal, all for free. I'm delighted that funding from my Early Intervention Youth Programme is enabling this scheme, and others like it across the county, to continue keeping young people off the streets and out of potential trouble."

Thomas, 12, one of the young children who's benefited from Street Bite workshops comments: “When I get bored it's really hard for me to entertain myself and I sometimes get myself in trouble. So if I come here I know I'm not going to get myself in trouble."

Councillor Andy Batsford of Hastings Borough Council said: “Providing positive and fun activities during the summer holidays has never been so important as parents and their families struggle with the costs of entertaining and feeding their children. Holiday hunger is a massive issue for the kids in the poorest areas of Hastings and so our Active Hastings team are delivering that incredible service to our communities. 

We were delighted to welcome our Police & Crime Commissioner and show her the positive impact her Early Intervention Youth Programme funding has enabled Hastings Council to provide. It's vital that we ensure that our children in the poorest communities have a healthy and active school holiday."  

By providing an attractive alternative to hanging around outdoors this project engages young people, at risk of offending, in positive activities.

This initiative comes under Active Hastings which is a partnership project led by Hastings Borough Council. Other partners include East Sussex County Council Public Health, Optivo Housing, Orbit Housing, Big Local North East Hastings, Targeted Youth Support and Hastings Opportunity Area.

During the 2018 summer holidays, 88 young people aged 10 to 16 took part with a total of 219 visits to the sessions and meals provided. Of those 88 participants, 61% live in areas that fall within the 20% most deprived nationally (38% within the 10% most deprived).

At every individual 2019 summer workshop they have had attendance from over 30 children.

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