Centre of Excellence to provide positive pathways for young people (16 Feb 2015)

An innovative new centre to tackle youth crime is set to open in Bradford. 

Bradford Centre of Excellence: Positive Pathways for Young People is a new initiative that delivers targeted interventions about the consequences of crime.
The programmes that the centre puts on are designed and presented by ex-offenders and prisoners to young people from across the Bradford District who are "at risk". 

"At risk" young people include those who are vulnerable or excluded, and those who are already offending or who have fallen into problematic lifestyles. The centre's role is to provide vital support that helps young people resolve problems and choose a positive future.

The centre, which is located in Girlington Community Centre in the Toller area of Bradford, uses a series of theatrical sets, such as a courtroom, a prison cell, as well as a shop and park where crime might happen. Mentors can use these sets to get over to young people what crime can involve. 

Experience from similar projects elsewhere in the country shows that these kinds of interventions deliver great improvement in the numbers of young people who return to mainstream education and refrain from further crime. 

The initiative has been funded by Bradford Council and has been developed in partnership with West Yorkshire Police and other partners in the youth justice system. 

The centre will be officially opened by the Lord Mayor of Bradford, Coun Mike Gibbons, on Wednesday, 18 February 2015.

Cllr Imran Hussain, Deputy Leader of Bradford Council, said: "We know that crime can blight communities and young people's lives. It also comes at a huge financial cost. This is a very exciting initiative. It demonstrates the Council's commitment to making young people of the district a priority and will help them make the right choices and avoid getting involved in crime."

Mark Burns-Williamson, Police and Crime Commissioner for West Yorkshire, said: "This is a great initiative for Bradford and for Yorkshire. Many young people aren't aware of the consequences of crime. Raising awareness amongst young people of the impact crime can have on your life and the lives' of other people is an important step in preventing crime and building a safer community."

Mick Chandsoor, Project Lead for the centre, said: "All the programmes the centre will deliver for young people will be done with the help of mentors who have served time in prison. We believe this is vital to success, as our mentors are able to tackle the misconceptions many young people have about prison and prison life." 

Kallum Robert Inman, aged 19 on the Princes Trust Programme, said: "The centre will be really useful for young people. People can do stupid things and get themselves into trouble without realising the consequences.  The centre will help people realise where crime can lead to."

Organisations can arrange to visit the centre by contacting Mick Chandsoor, Project Lead, Bradford Centre of Excellence - Positive Pathways for Young People, on 07582109733.

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