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25 January 2023

Ministry of Justice announces ground-breaking £5million fund for vulnerable young people

The Ministry of Justice has announced a radical new £5million fund: The Youth Justice Sports Fund. The fund will benefit 200 grassroot organisations who are directly working with vulnerable young people, guiding them away from lives of crime and antisocial behaviour via the medium of sport . Over three quarters of prolific adult offenders had their first caution or conviction as a juvenile and it is this statistic that demonstrates the crucial nature of the interventions that this new fund can provide, with a focus on early prevention.

The Fund will be led by the Alliance of Sport in Criminal Justice and StreetGames, coordinated by The Sport for Development Coalition (the Coalition), and will target the ‘secondary cohort’ of at risk young people between the ages of 10 – 17. This secondary cohort widely refers to children facing a broad range of issues that put them at-risk of entering the justice system. This can include, but is not limited to, school exclusions, complex safeguarding issues and those who have been identified as vulnerable or at-risk by the police; those who live in the bottom 20% of deprived areas and those who have already entered the justice system.

By funding the grassroots organisations that are working directly within these communities across the UK, this fund has the potential to change the lives of those children who are most vulnerable in society through sport.

Deputy PM Dominic Raab unveils new ground-breaking funding for vulnerable young people

Announcing the funding, Deputy Prime Minister, Lord Chancellor and Justice Secretary, Dominic Raab, said: “I have seen first-hand how local sports projects can transform the lives of young people from tough backgrounds, getting them off the streets and teaching them life skills including teamwork, discipline, and resilience.#

“That’s why we’re investing £5 million in innovative sporting schemes up and down the country. It is part of our £300 million investment to support every council across England and Wales in catching and preventing youth offending earlier than ever, making our streets safer.”

Collective Action

The announcement of the fund coincides with the news that The Coalition will be examining their Collective Action and the Working Groups that inform them during the first quarter of 2023.
It is free to join the Coalition, and any group who is using sport as a vehicle for positive change is welcome to join and contribute to their Collective Action impact.

Sport as vehicle for positive change

Previously, for the last two years, a core team from the Coalition has met every three months with members in order to devise and inform on policies around mental health, diversity and inclusion, impact, communications and workforce development. However, under the direction of Amy Caterson, appointed as Head of Impact & Engagement in December 2022, and along with current co-chairs, the proposed review will return to using an Expression of Interest, inviting representatives from Coalition member groups to sign up to the most relevant groups, a strategy last used in 2021.

This new approach will ensure that the reformed groups will be able to correctly serve the growing database of UK-wide members. This includes 250 charities and foundations who work with leagues, clubs and networks to deliver programmes that focus on strategic interventions in order to tackle issues surrounding health and society, particularly imperative regarding the coordination and delivery of The Youth Justice Sport Fund.

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