Figures released this week show the positive impact that Barnet FC Community Trust’s social inclusion programmes are having within the community. The numbers, collated by the local police on the Underhill Kickz project, show that with the combined contact hours of over 5000 for young people over a 48 week period, there was a significant drop in crime and anti-social behaviour in the area surrounding the project during running times. This included a 53% reduction in theft of motor vehicles, a 39% reduction of theft from motor vehicles and a 39% reduction of criminal damage. In fact, there has been a 19% reduction of crime overall.
Further figures even show that potentially over £3.5 million of the public’s money was saved, with £273,255 saved as a direct cost to policing. Although there is no indication that those who attend the sessions are the cause of trouble around the community, it does signify that the schemes give young people an engaging, productive environment after school and takes them away from opportunities to take the wrong path.
With 10 sessions being rolled out weekly by the Trust, and the average yearly total contact hours with the participants being over 28,000, it is apparent that the programmes are an important tool in youth engagment across the Boroughs of Barnet and Harrow, where the Community Trust also has a presence.
Speaking about the benefits of the sessions Janet Matthewson, Barnet FC Community Trust Manager said, “Its great that Barnet FC Community Trust can have such an impact on our communities and the figures endorse our beliefs. Quite often we are dealing with bored young people, not bad young people. By providing positive activities linked to social education, volunteering and job opprotunities we are offerinig an alternative to crime and anti-sicoal behaviour.”
She continued, “Young people can take the wrong path through boredom and/or peer influences. Pressure also mounts on young people during periods of encononic downturn when finances become more of an issue for families. Therefore, it is too simplistic to say that it is their choice whether they go down the wrong route or that it is down to parents to control their kids – there are so many factors that come into play. We want to be the deciding factor to help them saying “No” to crime and anti-social behaviour and “Yes” to our projects. It is great that the football family recognises their role within the communties. They serve and have risen to the challenge, partnering with the police to offer Kickz to communities across the country. By using the backing of a professional football club as a vehicle to engage, providing postitive actitivities as a tool to divert young people from crime, whilst giving them a sence of community identity and re-enforcing community cohesion it works really well and helps to create a safer stronger community for the benefit of us all. The Trust is also funded to help deliver on this area by the LBB Youth Service, Barnet Homes and John Lyons Charity!”
Speaking about the impact of the Trust, Chief Inspector Simon Causer from Barnet Police Force, said, “Barnet FC Community Trust is doing some great work and through this work they are contributing towards tackling crime and antisocial behaviour within the borough. The Trust, through Kickz and its additional projects running under the ‘Barnet Unites’ banner, has been part of a borough-wide strategy supported by a steering group. These sessions provide positive divisionary activities and social education for young people. Figures have shown us from the Underhill area, that there is a reduction in crime on the days and times when the project was being delivered, and there is little doubt that this positive effect is echoed across the borough.”
here or click 0208 441 6932For more information on the ‘KICKZ’ or ‘Barnet Unites’ Session call