Back on Track: Helping Young Children and Young People to get Back on Track


Using carefully targeted prevention projects as an approach to
reduce offending amongst children and young people has proved
highly successful. 

One example is Youth Inclusion Programmes (YIPs) which were
established by the Youth Justice Board (YJB) in 2000 as part of its
strategy to deal with youth crime.

The YJB’s strategy comprises 70 YIPs that operate in the
most deprived neighbourhoods in England and Wales.  Although
participation by young people is entirely voluntary, YIPs identify
50 of the most ‘at risk’ 13 to 16 years olds living in
the neighbourhood and try to encourage them to get involved in
constructive activities to help prevent them from offending. 
However, the YIPs are highly inclusive and also encourage
participation from other young people in the area.

Existing programmes are starting to show promising results:

  • 30% reduction in reported neighbourhood crime 
  • 60% reduction in youth arrest rates 
  • 30% reduction in school exclusion

Kickstart YIP

Kickstart, YIP in Southwark, South London, is one such example. 
Kickstart engage with children and young people in the local area
through positive and constructive activities to minimise the risk
of crime and help create a safer community.

Kickstart is part of the national registered charity, Crime
Concern Trust.  It works with local and national partners to reduce
crime and create safer communities.

Kickstart aims to provide young people with a realistic
alternative to ‘hanging around on the streets’. 

Kickstart’s aims and objectives include:

  • Engaging young people in positive and constructive activities
    as a means to reducing youth crime and enhancing social and
    personal development of young people
  • Empowering local communities, including young people, to tackle
    social exclusion and crime problems
  • Promoting good practice and knowledge of ‘what
    works’ through training, events, publications, media liaison,
    and information services

Kickstart provides sessions in a range of different activities
including football, dance, photography, video production, DJing and
MCing, cooking, local history and art and design.

Working with young people in trouble

Kickstart also carries targeted work with young people referred
from the local youth offending team, social services, educational
welfare, local schools and the community.  These young people have
often been excluded and may be on a final warning, or a court order
for one or more offences.

Through small group sessions, Kickstart workers help these young
people deal with their anti-social behaviour.  A daytime
educational programme aims to encourage members to increase their
skills and confidence.  Most benefit enough to go on to mainstream
educational activities, as well as Kickstart’s drop-in

One of Kickstart’s key partners is the Rockingham Estate
Play Association (REPA).  Kickstart has always worked closely with
REPA, which has supported the scheme from the start and whose
volunteers sit on the steering committees.  The strong relationship
enables sharing of best practice meaning that children and young
people visiting the centre get the best possible support to ensure
they stay on the right track.

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