Surrey’s Youth Support Service is using a ground-breaking approach to help turn around the lives of troubled young people in the county.
The service works closely with a number of local organisations to deliver restorative justice schemes which are having a positive effect on the community.
The approach, used in cases of lower-level offending by under-18s, has reduced reoffending rates by 18 per cent.
One scheme involves young people taking part in carpentry workshops, often with no prior experience of carpentry. They make a range of wooden items for the benefit of the community or victims of crime and gain job skills in the process.
The Youth Support Service works with projects including:
The Ashford and St Peter’s Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
Where young people are using their new-found carpentry skills to make activity equipment to improve dexterity for patients who have had a stroke or suffer from dementia. They also make handcrafted wooden memory boxes for parents whose babies have died. These are given to the neonatal intensive care unit where they are made available for bereaved families.
The Brooklands Museum in Weybridge
Where young people are making wooden crowd barriers for the motoring and aviation museum similar to those used at the site’s motor racing circuit in its heyday.
Lord McNally. Chair of the Youth Justice Board, said:
Surrey’s innovative approach to youth offending is clearly helping to divert young people away from crime.
The Youth Justice Board, working through local youth offending teams and services, continues to play an important role in promoting restorative justice across England and Wales; and I am delighted to see how Surrey’s work has enabled many young offenders to make amends to the victims of their crime while doing something positive for their community.
Linda Kemeny, Surrey County Council’s Cabinet Member for Schools, Skills and Educational Achievement, said:
Our approach is helping to steer young people away from crime while keeping costs down for the taxpayer and our team was very pleased to welcome the chair and chief executive of the Youth Justice Board to Surrey to show them first-hand the ground-breaking work we are doing.