Big Lottery Fund
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Lottery £25m to put young people on positive path & avoid crime

Thousands of young people can avoid becoming involved in criminal activity and anti-social behaviour through a Big Lottery Fund investment that will extend massively the reach of 25 projects that have already been shown to work.

The tried and tested interventions - several of which are being introduced to the UK for the first time – are some of the most well evidenced crime prevention projects presently operating in the UK or internationally.

Now, following a Big Lottery Fund investment of £25m, they will be scaled up and rolled out across the UK to improve the prospects of around a quarter of a million 8-14 year olds and reduce first-time offending.

The diverse range of projects have been identified and verified by young people’s specialists Catch22, working with a consortium of social and youth organisations including Young Foundation, Dartington Social Research Unit, Substance and Rathbone.

They will be delivered by charities in a range of settings, including schools, communities and within families, targeting young people living in disadvantaged areas or considered at risk of offending due to different factors, from bereavement to family instability or living in gang-afflicted communities.

The projects have a range of focuses, all aiming to help young people avoid common paths into offending and anti-social behaviour. These include increasing academic engagement, preventing substance misuse, teaching alternatives to conflict, aggression and violence, and challenging prejudice.

Some of the projects will work with targeted groups of young people who are already exhibiting signs of problematic behaviour such as aggression and violence toward peers or loved ones.

One charity, Barnardo’s, will introduce a new substance abuse and violence prevention programme which has proved successful in the US and will deliver it in the UK for the first time with the support of £1.5m Lottery funding.

The LifeSkills Training (Botvin) programme has been used extensively in schools in the USA and was recommended by Graham Allen MP in his 2011 independent review of early intervention.

As part of the programme, intensive sessions are delivered to young people to give them the confidence and skills to successfully handle challenging situations and learn alternatives to ‘risky’ behaviour.

Backed by over 30 scientific studies, LifeSkills has been shown in the USA to reduce drug use among participants by up to 75%, alcohol use by up to 60%, tobacco use by up to 87% and verbal or physical aggression by up to 50%. It also has estimated savings to society of £12.78 for every £1 spent on the programme.

National domestic violence prevention charity Respect is being funded to roll out its Respect Young People’s Programme, which targets 11-14 year olds who are showing violence and abuse towards parents, siblings, peers or ‘dating’ partners. The charity highlights that early onset of this can be a precursor or indicator of other forms of criminality and offending behaviour.

Respect will use Lottery funding of £808,556 to run the programme in the North East, North West and South East regions of England, delivering structured sessions to young people and parents looking at violence and its effects, emotional control and awareness, and challenging negative attitudes about rights and roles in relationships.

BIG’s support for the 25 projects comes from its Realising Ambition programme, which aims to replicate or scale up proven approaches that have a strong track record of improving the lives of disadvantaged and marginalised young people.

All of the projects will be rigorously tested and evaluated over as they run over the next five years so that they can provide solid insight into how our society can work more effectively to help young people and prevent anti-social behaviour and youth offending in future.

Peter Wanless, Big Lottery Fund Chief Executive at said: “There’s a very high price to the individual and to society when a young person is sucked into a life of anti-social behaviour and criminal activity.  Yet there are programmes of support in the UK and abroad which have been shown can keep people on a positive path.  

“With Catch 22’s help, we are extending massively the reach of 25 projects that have been shown to work well and have the potential to be replicated well beyond the numbers they are currently helping. Our support will help thousands of young people across the UK to increase their prospects and aspirations, overcome problematic behaviour and avoid pitfalls that could ultimately lead them into a cycle of offending.

“But the benefits we hope will be wider still.  This investment will build an evidence base so the UK can understand far better how we can more effectively support children and young people in the future and prevent first time offending.”

David Hopkins, Acting Head of National Programmes at Catch 22 said: "Realising Ambition will help to bring about a step change in work going on across the UK to offer young people pathways away from crime. Through the programme we'll have more, and better, evidence of which approaches make a difference and how best to roll these out.

“It's vital that we use our combined resources wisely to deliver the best possible results for young people, families, and the wider community. Realising Ambition will help us do that."

For a full list of the 25 projects click here 
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Notes to Editors

  • The Big Lottery Fund (BIG), the largest distributor of National Lottery good cause funding, is responsible for giving out 40% of the money raised for good causes by the National Lottery.
  • BIG is committed to bringing real improvements to communities and the lives of people most in need and has been rolling out grants to health, education, environment and charitable causes across the UK. Since June 2004 BIG has awarded over £4.4bn.
  • The Fund was formally established by Parliament on 1 December 2006.
  • Since the National Lottery began in 1994, 28p from every pound spent by the public has gone to good causes. As a result, over £28 billion has now been raised and more than 370,000 grants awarded across arts, sport, heritage, charities, health, education and the environment.