Cash boost for youth groups

By on 09/07/2009 in News

Nearly 70 schemes aimed at improving the lives of young people in Birmingham have been awarded funding totalling almost £1.5 million.

The Government money is to be spent on projects targeting those who are most marginalised and at risk of low attainment, teenage pregnancy, drug abuse, anti-social behaviour, getting involved in gangs and exclusion from school.

A total of 68 organisations in the city ranging from theatre groups, boxing club, football coaching and other youth projects are to benefit from the Positive Activities for Young People (PAYP) grant.

Individual awards vary from less than £3,000 to £50,000. 

Cllr Les Lawrence, Birmingham City Council's Cabinet Member for Children, Young People and Families, said: “Not all young people in the city have access to the kind of good quality extra-curricular activities that are essential for them to gain a sense of purpose and well being.

“That is why we need to make every effort to plug the gap and provide a wide range of opportunities across the city, particularly for those children who are at risk of being sucked into negative lifestyles.

“I am very pleased that we have secured this additional funding – it is vital that young people have a range of high quality activities to engage in beyond school to help them grow into well-rounded citizens.”

The PAYP funding is intended for projects that increase the “social and emotional skills” of young people and help nurture a sense of belonging within communities.

Concern has grown in recent years that a lack of constructive leisure activities for young people is leading to increased alienation and disaffection among them.

Chief Supt Gareth Morgan, West Midlands Police spokesman for children and young people in Birmingham, said: “The grants provided by Positive Activities for Young People give many young people the chance to experience a range of activities not normally open to them.

“It’s clear that young people by and large want to take part in exciting, positive activities but often just do not get the opportunity.
“These grants, which form part of the larger array of funding and schemes across Birmingham, will provide many young people with access to schemes which will allow them to broaden their abilities, skills and experiences. Alongside the learning will be the opportunity to have fun and to enjoy the company of other young people from diverse backgrounds.”

One of the beneficiaries of the funding is The Children's Society's Befriending Unaccompanied Minors Project (BUMP) which supports looked after young asylum seekers and refugees between the ages of 14 and 18-years-old.

Based in the Jewellery Quarter BUMP is to gain £9,000 from the funding.
Programme manager Nicola Clarke said: “The Children’s Society is delighted to receive this funding.

“It will enable us to further support unaccompanied asylum seeking young people in Birmingham through our BUMP project, to run a weekly drop in and a summer residential.

“The project provides these young people with no family in the UK a supportive network where they can make friends, learn from their peers and have fun, helping to initiate them into a country where they often feel lonely and vulnerable.”

Notes to Editors

• PAYP funding is a key pat of the Government's Aiming High for Young People ten-year strategy targeting the most disaffected with positive activities.

• It is also part of Government plans to strengthen youth support services.

• The draft National Strategy for PAYP states the funding is intended for those young people “who are the most marginalised and at risk of a range of poor outcomes”.

Further information from Shahid Naqvi 0121 303 3635.

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