Croydon Council is to fund two youth engagement workers to help support vulnerable young people in schools.
Starting this September, the workers will facilitate six weekly, one-hour workshops to help nine to 14-year-olds keep themselves safe, and support their transition between primary and secondary education.
The safety advice will include understanding the risks of carrying knives and getting involved in anti-social behaviour.
The workshops champion the aims of the council’s Choose Your Future campaign – to unite Croydon against serious youth violence and help young people to make positive choices.
Councillor Hamida Ali, cabinet member for safer Croydon and communities
“We know that the transition from primary to secondary school can be a challenging time for many young people.
“The additional staff will help schools intervene earlier to support young people against the risks of getting caught up in knife crime. The new youth workers will work closely with existing youth service providers to help develop the pupils’ self-confidence, keep them safe and harness their potential.”
Forest Academy and Beckmead Junior School have already expressed interest in the workshops, which will be offered to all schools, and could help up to 200 young people.
The workers will also offer one-to-one support for a further 60 young people through referrals.
The initiatives follows a successful pilot at Forest Academy and South Norwood Academy.
Teachers noted improvements in peer relationships and the young people said they enjoyed the workshops, as they improved their confidence. They also said they had learnt more about keeping themselves safe and understanding that ‘gangs don’t help anyone’.
The council’s youth engagement team and its partners have also been supporting young people across the borough with a wide range of summer events and opportunities.
Their outreach team will continue to be out and about with the youth bus, which will be based in Croydon town centre every Thursday from 3-6pm during term time.