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Council-run scheme to steer young people away from crime receives £8,000

Cllr Johnny Denis
Cllr Johnny Denis

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 Johnny Denis, Cabinet Member for Communities and Customers at Lewes District Council, said: "This scheme has proved invaluable in diverting young people away from anti-social or criminal behaviour by engaging with them, primarily about mental health issues, low self-esteem, lack of confidence and life at home.

"By tackling these underlying causes for behavioural problems, we are achieving a good result for the young person and helping to reduce crime in our communities."

Alan Sidders, from Southdown Training Limited, delivers the scheme, working closely with the Eastbourne Business Crime Group, Sussex Police and schools.

James Clarke, one of the deputy headteachers at Peacehaven Community School, said the scheme works with "some of our most vulnerable and challenging students" and has made a "noticeable difference and impact straight away."

He added: "This service has provided a unique opportunity which had a positive whole school impact and I would recommend it to any school."

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/