Through the power of sport, SportWorks have continued their successful partnership with Northumbria Police and North Tyneside Council in reducing anti-social behaviour, thanks to continued funding via Project Vita.
An anti-social behaviour operation that received widespread acclaim after youth disorder decreased has been rolled out across North Tyneside.
Project Vita was launched in Wallsend and Howdon back in early 2020 as a joint initiative between Northumbria Police and North Tyneside Council.
The aim of the innovative project was to steer young people away from trouble and offer them confidence-boosting opportunities to build life skills, while at the same time reducing pockets of disorder.
A key focus of the project was for officers and partners to actively engage with young people in the community who were gathering in large numbers and find out what opportunities they wanted to be made available in their area.
Within 18 months of the scheme being introduced, youth-related anti-social behaviour had decreased by more than 35 per cent in the area.
Now, as the Force supports the national ASB Awareness Week, the project has been rolled out to other areas of North Tyneside – including in Killingworth and Forest Hall.
After speaking to students at local schools and finding out what provisions they felt were missing, 4G football pitches at Killingworth Young People’s Club were identified. A professional coach now leads free, weekly sessions for young people aged between 11 and 17.
Meanwhile boxing sessions have also started up in The Parks area of North Shields to help engage young people and keep them out of criminality.
Both schemes have already led to a 27 per cent reduction in youth-related anti-social behaviour in the area.
Chief Superintendent Janice Hutton, anti-social behaviour lead for Northumbria Police, said: “Project Vita has exemplified the benefits that true partnership working can bring when responding to what matters to local communities.
“The impact on crime and anti-social behaviour is significant and just as importantly, the project has also resulted in a large number of vulnerable children and young people being identified and directed to relevant support services.
“A multi-agency problem solving approach has been key to this success, involving weekly meetings between neighbourhood officers from Northumbria Police and staff from North Tyneside Council, as well as shared resources between the teams.
“It has rightly been recognised as best practice within the force, and this success is something we are looking to build on and replicate in other areas of Northumbria.”
Councillor Carole Burdis, Cabinet Member for Crime and Community Safety, said: “The success of Project Vita is testament to the hard work and dedication of our community protection staff, working in partnership with the Police, to share information and resources and address local people’s concerns.
“Together we are working to tackle the root causes of antisocial behaviour by engaging with young people to help them understand the consequence of their actions and make more positive decisions in future.
“The significant drop in youth-related antisocial behaviour shows that our approach is working and that we are really getting through to some of these young people and supporting them to turn their lives around.
“It’s no wonder that the project has earned national recognition and become a model of best practice that people across the country are keen to learn from. I’m very proud of everyone who is involved and I wish them continued success in the future.”