Blog: Suffolk Youth Intervention Fund

One of the most important decisions I’ll have to make this month is allocating the grant money
from our new Suffolk Youth Intervention Fund.
This is a £150,000 fund I announced at the beginning of July, with the specific aim of
assisting our younger generation. I committed £50K to the fund and with the support of
Suffolk Community Foundation, a further £100,000 has been raised from private individuals
and business donations. This specifically support work with young people in Suffolk to
address the challenges they face in today’s society – providing opportunities for positive
activities, increasing life chances and reducing crime and disorder.
Unfortunately, for all sorts of reasons too many of our young people find themselves in great
difficulty. The lack of ambition and aspiration, poor educational attainment or perhaps being
enticed into crime or grooming by gangs are far too prevalent and we have an obligation to
try and put things right.
It is a particularly sad situation that far too many Suffolk young people have never had the
opportunities in life that many of us were fortunate to have when we were of similar age. I’ve
no doubt there is a strong correlation between deprivation and higher levels of crime. That’s
why, as your Police and Crime Commissioner, I’m delighted to be involved with this new
funding initiative with our partners from the Suffolk Community Foundation. If we can help
youngsters to make the right choices in life and become fulfilled and good citizens all of us will
reap the benefits.
The summer application process resulted in an incredible response with the fund being heavily
oversubscribed. Having studied all the proposals the good news is there are many excellent
applications, which will make a huge and positive contribution to improving the prospects for
many young people in our county. It’s probably not unreasonable to believe this fund has
potential to transform lives. The assessment panel certainly has its work cut out when making
the decisions on which organisations are successful and some I’m afraid will be disappointed
when the results are announced. Nevertheless, it demonstrates the pent-up demand from
the younger generation and that’s why action must be taken to address this situation.
What I find very encouraging is the huge range of ideas and plans from right across the county
with submissions from Haverhill to Lowestoft and Brandon to Felixstowe. The panel will also
be delighted those submissions span the ages from primary school age to the early twenties.
The recognition of the need to prepare youngsters for adulthood is also common in many
applications. Improving self-esteem and personal confidence so they make the right choices
in life is crucial for society’s well being and this approach is another common theme.
Previously I’ve mentioned how the power of collaboration and working together has such
positive effects and we even have some joint applications, which is to be applauded. This
combined approach could deliver superior outcomes for our youngsters as well as providing
better value for money and use of resources involved. Despite the challenges of partnership
working I know our county does have a formidable reputation for working with each other
and adopting an innovative approach when trying to tackle some of the huge social difficulties
we face.

Published in the East Anglian Daily Times  April 2020