How a summer programme helped to tackle antisocial behaviour in Cheshire
Tuesday, 15 November 2011
The Halton Summer Blitz aims to provide a range of positive activities for children and young people during the holidays
Project Halton Summer Blitz
Funding £40,000 from Halton Borough Council
Purpose To get more young people involved in positive activities during the summer
Background The summer holidays often see a surge in antisocial behaviour by bored young people. Halton Borough Council’s integrated youth support service was aware of gaps in local youth provision. So it devised a six-week summer programme, which involved commissioning a range of youth provision from the voluntary sector. Managers were keen to address feedback from young people who wanted more to do during the day, and to cater for those aged 10 to 13.
Action The Summer Blitz programme included sport, art, drama and educational sessions provided from bases including two youth centres, a canal boat and an outreach bus sent out to antisocial behaviour hotspots. The activities ran from 9am until 10pm each day and were free.
Many activities in Halton during the summer came with a fee and youth workers wanted to ensure no one was excluded because of cost.
The programme was aimed at 10- to 19-year-olds as opposed to the more traditional age range of 13 to 19 to encourage younger people to use youth services. As a result, Halton launched provision for 10- to 13s from 3.30pm at its CRMZ and Hub youth centres.
"Youth provision often starts at 7pm and young people told us they wanted something they could go to straight after school," says John Bucknall, commissioning manager for Halton’s children and enterprise directorate.
Summer Blitz was a chance to promote the range of facilities and activities on offer at CRMZ, which was built with MyPlace funding and had just opened, and to bridge the geographical divide between Widnes and Runcorn by bussing young people to events outside their home communities.
Outcome Antisocial behaviour by young people dropped significantly during the programme, according to analysis by Cheshire Police, which made a direct correlation between the provision of youth services and a drop in incidents.
For example, the outreach service bus visited four areas in Runcorn and all four saw the largest reductions in youth anti-social behaviour. Halton Lea, Grange, Castlefields and Heath saw incidents halve from 183 in 2010 to 92 in 2011. A similar pattern was recorded in Widnes, where antisocial behaviour incidents dropped from 101 in 2010 to 50 in 2011.
Moreover, overall attendance of youth provision increased by 41 per cent after Summer Blitz.