A YOUNG people’s charity has announced it will be increasing the number of youth workers in schools after receiving a funding boost.

The Berkshire Youth charity will be putting youth workers into 20 secondary schools across Berkshire to help young people at risk of exclusion and violence.

The funding was given to the charity from the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner (OPCC) for the Thames Valley.

Matthew Barber, Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner, said: “Given the recent increase in knife crime, we need to look at what more we can do to protect young people from violence and exploitation and how we can work even more closely in partnership with both statutory and community organisations to try to reverse this trend."

In November the OPCC was awarded £822,000 from the Home Office Early Intervention Fund and it is being used to tackle youth violence, knife crime and exploitation across the Thames Valley.

Mr Barber believes that this will help to keep young people off the streets.

He added: “Organisations such as Berkshire Youth have proven experience in working with young people at risk of becoming involved in gangs, knife crime or drug dealing.

“Its youth work is a great example of an intervention programme which is making an impact by providing activities to keep young people off the streets where they may be at risk and forging meaningful relationships with them through mentoring programmes.

“I believe that projects such as these make a real difference to the lives of individuals and communities as a whole and I look forward to seeing these activities progress over the coming months.”

The street workers have already successfully been working in Bracknell and Thatcham since November.

David Seward, CEO of Berkshire Youth, said: “Invaluable trusting relationships will be built between the young person and their volunteer mentor to help transition the vulnerable or disadvantaged young people from our streets and into local youth activities.”

In 2019 and 2020 youth workers will also be deployed into Reading and Wokingham. For more information, visit: https://www.berkshireyouth.co.uk/about-us.