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Funding helps communities tackle anti-social behaviour

Two south Staffordshire villages are tackling anti-social behaviour thanks to the success of a new youth group.

Reports of anti-social behaviour in Great Wyrley and Cheslyn Hay have dropped by 37 per cent since a Youth Night project was launched in April 2011.

Due to the success of the project and thanks to funding from South Staffordshire Housing Association (SSHA) the project could continue for another two years, but it is in need of volunteers to help run it.

Up to 30 young people each week are going to the Youth Night project, which was launched by Staffordshire Police and SSHA to reduce nuisance behaviour in the villages.

Funding from SSHA has helped the project buy two large TVs, a Playstation 3, Xbox 360 Connect, a Nintendo Wii and a table tennis set, as well as other equipment.

Since the project was launched reports of anti-social behaviour and youth related incidents have dropped dramatically during the summer holidays. During the summer of 2011 the number or anti-social behaviour incidents reduced by 10 compared to the previous year, and there were 16 less youth-related incidents.

Police Community Support Officer (PCSO) for Great Wyrley and Cheslyn Hay, Gareth Lloyd, said: “The community has noticed a real difference since the Youth Night project was launched. We have experienced a significant drop in the level of anti-social behaviour reported to the police.

“Thanks to the funding from South Staffordshire Housing Association we have been able to provide some great equipment for the young people, which is enticing more and more people to come along each week.”

Run by the police, the project holds games evenings every Thursday at St Mark’s church hall, Station Road, Great Wyrley, from 6 to 8pm, and is for young people aged 11 to 18 years old.

Due to the popularity of the games night it needs to recruit more volunteers so there can be more Youth Project sessions held throughout the week.

Jackie Ilic, neighbourhood involvement officer at SSHA, said: “We are committed to helping the communities in which our residents live to tackle neighbourhood issues, such as anti-social behaviour. A survey amongst our residents in Great Wyrley and Cheslyn Hay showed that one of the main issues for them was disruptive youths.

“After talking to PCSO Gareth Lloyd we agreed a youth night was a great way to tackle nuisance behaviour so that the young people have somewhere to go on an evening. We are delighted it has been a success and hope it will continue to be.

“We really are keen to recruit the help of more volunteers so we can put the club on more nights during the week. It is a good opportunity for people who want experience of working with young people and to get involved in community activities.”

If you are interested in volunteering at a Youth Night project for young people in Great Wryley and Cheslyn Hay contact Alison McDougal-Brownhill, neighbourhood management officer at SSHA on 01785 312229, or email alison.mcdougal-brownhill@ssha.co.uk

ASB project: PCSO Gaz Lloyd (left) with 13-year-old Charlie Painter at the Great