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How Children In Need And Newcastle United Foundation Helped Tom Break The Cycle Of Youth Violence

Thanks to funding from BBC Children in Need, Newcastle United Foundation’s Breaking the Cycle Of Youth Violence initiative is making a huge difference to young people in our community.

It’s been a resounding success in turning around the life of our most recent programme graduate Tom*.

Tom is 12 years old and known to the Newcastle Youth Offending Team due to offences linked to possession of a knife.

Tom engaged in 14 sessions across 12 weeks which included additional contact time during school holidays. He completed sessions on goal-setting, building positive relationships, confidence building and learning about the community in which he lives. He also took part in other sessions which linked to the topics he was studying at school including, the human body and space.

Thanks to Tom’s positive engagement with the programme, his Youth Conditional Caution was ended early. He’s credited the initiative with helping him work on his resilience, his confidence, communication skills, and making positive choices when faced with further offending or violence.

In a further act of positive change, he has also registered to become a Barnardo’s Youth Ambassador volunteer for his community.

The future looks bright for Tom. He will now continue engagement with Newcastle United Foundation through attendance at Premier League Kicks session and his participation in the U14 Elite Kicks squad.

When asked about his time with the Foundation, Tom said: I’ve enjoyed my time on this programme. I’ve learned lots of new things that could help me in school and life.

“If I could give other people on this programme advice it would be: be honest, be organised and set your goals.”

Jacqueline Critchley, Youth Violence Project Coordinator at Newcastle United Foundation, said: “We’ve seen such a positive change in Tom since he started with us and it’s great to see everyone’s hard work pay off with him finishing the programme.

“His confidence and communication skills have improved massively and it’s fantastic he’s staying with the Foundation through our PL Kicks sessions.”

After a successful pilot in 2016, the programme was relaunched in January 2018, as a result of a strong partnership between Newcastle Youth Offending Team and the Foundation.

The project aims to work with young people known to the Newcastle Youth Offending Team who have committed offences linked to violence, including; public order, assault, possession of an offensive weapon, and criminal damage.

Since January 2018, Newcastle United Foundation has worked with 55 young people, facilitating one on one mentoring sessions and positive, constructive activities for participants to get involved with. The goal is to give them a structure in which to socialise, learn and develop new skills. As a result, reoffending rates have reduced by 75%.

The funding from Children in Need has also enabled the charity to set up the Pen Pals project alongside Burnley FC in the Community. The initiative gives socially isolated young people from both areas the opportunity to develop new friendships and learn how to build and sustain positive relationships.

Participants will keep in regular contact with each other through writing, video communications, and face to face meetings – as well as working together towards a social action project in their respective communities.

Jacqueline added: “The funding from BBC Children in Need has given young people a positive platform for change.

“Without the funding this group of young people would remain unheard and without a voice in the city of Newcastle. They are able to take ownership of the programme, making suggestions on what else they would like to do or learn.

“Thanks to the help of BBC Children in Need we are making a positive and lifelong difference to both the lives of our participants, as well as the community of Newcastle.”

The programme has already successfully seen young people progress into employment, further training or enrol in college. Younger participants have also been able to return to mainstream education, improved their attendance and displayed a significant difference in their behaviour at school.

*Tom’s name has been changed to preserve his anonymity.


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