An early intervention scheme that tackles the underlying causes of criminal behaviour among young people has been awarded £8,000 towards its running costs in Eastbourne and Lewes.
Restoring Eastbourne and Lewes, operated by the Eastbourne Business Crime Group in partnership with Eastbourne Borough Council and Lewes District Council working with Sussex Police and the Youth Offending Team, was recently successful in its bid for a grant from the Community Safety Partnership.
The scheme, for young people aged 12 and over, began in 2015 using restorative justice to reduce reoffending for shoplifting and this has evolved into addressing the causes of a wide range of low-level offences with an emphasis on early intervention.
Initially, Restoring Eastbourne and Lewes only engaged with young people referred by police but now it receives school referrals and holds sessions at Causeway School in Eastbourne and Peacehaven Community School, both run by Swale Academy which also provides funding towards the scheme.
Councillor Rebecca Whippy, Cabinet Member for Disabilities and Community Safety at Eastbourne Borough Council, said: "Many of the young people being referred to this scheme are experiencing problems related to mental health, low self-esteem, a lack of confidence or family issues that lead them to becoming involved in anti-social or criminal behaviour. Addressing these root causes reduces the need for them to behave badly or be drawn into criminality, which is a successful result not only for that individual but the community as a whole."
Alan Sidders, from Southdown Training Limited, delivers the scheme, working closely with the Eastbourne Business Crime Group, Sussex Police and schools.
PC Cathy Codling, former Prevention Youth Officer for Eastbourne, described the scheme as "invaluable" adding: "I have been able to use this service as a diversion and intervention for those young people that may have otherwise ended up with community resolution which would provide a record that could affect their application for work or studying in the future if an enhanced DBS was required. This way the young people can get the help they require rather than heading into criminalisation at an early age."
There is still funding available from the Eastbourne and Lewes Community Safety Partnership and bids are welcome. For information on the priorities, which include working with young people, and details on how to apply visit lewes-eastbourne.gov.uk/partnerships/community-safety-partnerships