Crime cutting project looks back on its first 12 months

Posted: 26-06-2017

Celebration was the name of the game when Doncaster Children’s Services Trust marked the first anniversary of its youth crime reduction programme.

Last week, figures were released showing the success of the Trust’s Youth Offending Service (YOS), with Doncaster moving from having among the worst re-offending rates for young people in the country two years ago to now having the 4th lowest rate, at 28.1%, compared to an England average of 37.7%.

This success is in part due to the innovative work undertaken by Team EPIC (Encouraging Potential, Inspiring Change), launched a year ago; and on Friday (23 June) a ‘birthday party’ was held at the Keepmoat Stadium, in Doncaster, during which the successes were celebrated.

Successes like the young girl who turned her non-attendance at school around by re-sitting her Maths and English and securing a place at Doncaster College as well as a placement at a farm.

And the 15 year-old who, by his own admission, had difficulties committing to anything prior to the EPIC course. He then got the chance to take part in making a film, thanks to Trust partners at Doncaster Community Arts. While he said he didn’t intend having much commitment to that either, once he went along and started working on the film, he found he was really enjoying it. He was inspired and motivated and, to his own surprise, wanted to attend every session and see it through.

Delegates heard details about the programmes run by EPIC in conjunction with a number of partners, including South Yorkshire Police and Doncaster Council. Projects include the Think Forward programme and the Crime and Consequences and Young and Safe programmes - the latter of which are delivered in partnership with Sheffield Hallam University into local primary and secondary schools.

They also heard about the team’s mobile work on the streets of the borough, talking and listening to young people about their involvement in anti-social behaviour.

As YOS Head of Service Andy Hood said in his presentation:"We've smashed it. We stated what we were setting out to do in the first 12 months when we launched last year and we've achieved it and more!"

The audience were inspired by top sportsman turned motivational speaker, Luke Staton and watched the premier of a film made by young people involved in EPIC in conjunction with programme partners Doncaster Community Arts.

Speaking after the event, Trust Chief Executive Paul Moffat said: “Today has been a great opportunity for the Trust to celebrate the success of EPIC and to thank our partners for their involvement. The aim of all of us is to show young people that there is an alternative to a life of crime and that they have the skills and the strength of character to channel their efforts into a successful future.

“This is not just a way of helping children and young people as individuals but of helping Doncaster to be a safer place to live and visit.”

Following the formal section of the day, children and young people from local schools were invited to take part in an activity sampling session, which included zorbing, soft archery and fencing – all activities used to help young people develop a range of skills, including commitment, confidence and team building.

Zorbing is one way of teaching team building skills, resilience and self confidence among young people.

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