Public-sector organisations in Sussex have welcomed news of renewed government funding to help reduce violent crime and provide opportunities for children and young people.

The Home Office has provisionally allocated funding for a further three years to continue the activities of the Sussex Violence Reduction Partnership (VRP) in a collaboration between Sussex Police, Brighton & Hove City Council, East Sussex County Council, West Sussex County Council, Public Health England, the NHS, the Probation Service and others.

With Home Office funding to date, the Sussex VRP has invested in interventions that meet the needs of some of the most vulnerable young people in Sussex, providing guidance, support and activities to divert them away from serious violence.

The multi-year government funding will provide much-needed stability and continuity for this work, enabling the partnership to maintain its existing provision and develop new projects, testing what works in preventing serious violence.

Police and Crime Commissioner Katy Bourne said: “The continued and welcome support from the Home Office is unprecedented. It demonstrates both the effectiveness of our VRP in addressing serious violent crime in Sussex and its greater understanding about who is most affected and where resources should be deployed.

“The partnership acknowledges that serious violence is never a series of isolated incidents and its proactive approach in understanding the complexity of violent crime allows for safer communities and provides the opportunity for real change in young people’s lives.”

Detective Superintendent Stuart Hale from Sussex Police said: “I am delighted the Sussex VRP has secured this renewed funding to sustain its vital intervention work and offer young people a positive future.

“Tackling violence is not solely about arresting and prosecuting individuals. We know the best time to stop violent crime is before it starts.”

Tanya Mackay, Sussex VRP Project Manager, said: “The work of the Sussex Violence Reduction Partnership, focusing on prevention and early intervention, complements enforcement action by Sussex Police.

“This funding gives us a stable platform to support young people over the next three years. It offers us a further opportunity to address the driving forces behind youth violence and to work with vulnerable young people, giving them choices and opportunities that will help them to avoid and reject violence.

“Violent crime is preventable – not inevitable.”

The Sussex VRP in action – breaking the cycle of reoffending

Brighton & Hove

Through the Brighton Streets project, youth workers support young people who are out and about on the streets and in local parks across Brighton & Hove.

They can offer advice on issues such as personal safety and mental health, and make referrals to additional support for those in need.

The relationships they build provide opportunities to challenge behaviour and attitudes, preventing individual and group issues from escalating into violence.

The youth workers can also respond to any needs that are raised by police, councillors and local communities.

East Sussex

Since September 2019, two practitioners from the local Youth Offending Team have been based in Eastbourne at College Central, a school for students who have been permanently excluded or are at risk of permanent exclusion.

Working alongside school staff, the workers deliver one-to-one sessions, group work, outreach and family support to all pupils. This includes specific interventions on knife crime, exploitation and offending.

They also provide a link between the school and wider services, including children’s social care and the police.

West Sussex

The Schools and Exclusions Project provides specialist support for young people at risk of serious violence, exploitation or permanent exclusion from school.

It helps young people, parents and school staff to challenge aggressive behaviour and develop the skills to resolve conflict.

The project team also work with local partners and the community in a co-ordinated way to prevent gang exploitation, anti-social behaviour and crime.