Youth projects leading to drop in anti-social behaviour in Brighton and Hove

Anti-social behaviour among teenagers living on council estates in Brighton and Hove is reducing thanks to youth projects, councillors have been told.

Friday, 14th June 2019, 2:13 pm
67 Centre Moulsecoomb

Feedback from housing teams has been positive for the past year, with fewer reports of anti-social behaviour by young people, according to a report going before two council committees.

The feedback is anecdotal but Brighton and Hove City Council housing officers have reported reductions in complaints at joint meetings.

A report into how money is spent on youth projects is looking at how successful each area has been in involving young people and reducing anti-social behaviour.

About 2,200 young people across Brighton and Hove have gone along to various projects set up by organisations funded by the council, making on average eight visits each.

A survey of 53 young people taking part in projects called Progress Star suggested improvements in teenagers’ confidence, more involvement in their community and increases in their skills.

B.Game, a young people’s gaming group run by Brighton Youth Centre for teenagers in the city centre, started out as a monthly event and has brought a group together who met weekly at other events.

The report going before the council’s Children, Young People and Skills Committee described how gaming together had got some young people out of the house.

It said: “One young man, 17, who on first meeting said, ‘I don’t go out of my house,’ is now a regular attendee at youth club and took part in a two-day residential over the summer.

“The group identified that gaming enables them to build skills and knowledge and to build community, around a shared interest. ”

Another young person quoted in the report said: “I spend too much time on the screen on my own. I was really miserable before I came here today.

“I come down here and be sociable and I feel really good now.”

A high number of young people working with the Hangleton and Knoll Project faced a multitude of difficulties from mental health problems to being disengaged with school.

One of its big successes was UStudios2, a weekly music session attended regularly by 15 to 25.

It is dedicated to young people experiencing high levels of anxiety and stress, allowing them to express themselves by rapping and singing while receiving informal and relaxed support.

A 16-year-old boy involved with the project said: “This is my weekly escape. I come here and spit bars and get stuff of my chest.”

Projects led by the Trust for Developing Communities included year-round activities in Coldean and Thursday night youth clubs at the 67 Centre in Moulsecoomb.

More than 300 teenagers were involved in a consultation about a new skate park for Moulsecoomb and organising skate jam events.

The Bevendean Activities Group had its own bank account, elected its own team and raised money through its own social enterprise.

Bids by 14 young people to the Youth-Led Grants Programme brought in £19,000 for local projects which they chose themselves.

Young people have become involved in running the Whitehawk Youth Café.

Woodingdean Youth Centre has been supporting young people to challenge rules and policies at a youth club and at Longhill School.

Youth Services has a budget of £886,000, with the Youth Grants Programme running until the end of March next year having £400,000 a year from that budget.

When the Children, Young People and Skills Committee meets on Monday (June 17) it is being asked to extend youth contracts until the end of September next year to allow more time for recommissioning.

Members of the Housing and New Homes Committee are being asked to contrinute an extra £125,000 at a meeting next Wednesday (19 June) to cover an extra six months until the programme goes out to tender again.

Currently the Housing Revenue Account, funded by tenants’ rents, spends £250,000 a year on youth projects targeting young people from local estates.

About 800 young people using the services were known to live in council homes.

The programme was designed to reduce anti-social behaviour, improve social inclusion and help young people be ready for employment.

Both committees are due to meet at Hove Town Hall. The meetings start at 4pm and should be open to the public.