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Newcastle United Foundation's YOLO project celebrates a year of successful delivery and continues its support during COVID-19

Newcastle United Foundation’s YOLO Early Intervention Project – which aims to reduce the risk of young people becoming involved in serious violence – celebrated one year of delivery this week and continues to support 8-14 year-olds, parents and carers throughout the current global pandemic.

The programme allows a mentor to work with a young person on a variety of interventions, including anger and behaviour management, building healthy relationships and increasing self-confidence. Participants are also helped to develop their education and given access to positive diversionary activities such as first aid and knife crime workshops, volunteering opportunities and ASDAN qualifications.

Funded by the Northumbria Police Crime Commissioner and working in partnership with Northumbria Police, YOLO works with participants across Newcastle, Gateshead, North Tyneside, Northumberland and South Tyneside.

Since the inception of the programme – which now works with 48 participants – there has been a clear reduction in criminal offending and missing-from-home episodes, as well as a large improvement in school attendance. 89% of the young people involved have remained clear of serious violence and have not come into contact with the police since beginning work with their Newcastle United Foundation mentors.

Newcastle United Youth Violence Project Coordinator Jacqueline Critchley, said: “We’re delighted with how the project has gone for our first year and excited to see how we can continue to develop, going forward.

“There are so many success stories just from the last 12 months – our participants’ attendance and confidence have improved as well as their social skills.

“We’re encouraging them to immerse themselves into their learning and schoolwork, engage with their family, stay active and set goals. I’ve been delighted with the response that we’ve had so far.”

Despite being unable to meet face-to-face during the current pandemic, Newcastle United Foundation mentors have continued to work with the YOLO participants to help them maintain their progress: “We’ve ensured that our mentors have kept close contact with our young people through social media groups and phone calls as well as hosting a virtual birthday party and sending out an individual 24-page activity packs and other specific resources that have been requested,” said Jacqueline, adding, “We know that it’s a challenging time at the moment and how important it is to stay in touch with people.

Last February five YOLO participants travelled to London to watch Newcastle United play Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park as recognition of their hard work on the programme. This was a unique opportunity for the young people – who had never been to the capital before – and would not have been possible without the support of the Police Crime Commissioner funding.


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