A charity which has helped thousands of young people turn away from crime has been given a £480,000 funding boost.
Ynot Aspire, based in Accrington, provides activities, support and opportunities to all young people in the borough and also help ‘sofa-surfing’ homeless youngsters to get back on their feet.
They have now been awarded £480,128 from The Big Lottery to continue their work for another five years.
Sharon Burch, chief officer at Ynot Aspire, said they have been “absolutely blown away” with the results they have enjoyed since being founded in 2011.
This includes slashing the numbers of young people out of education and also getting involved in crime or anti-social behaviour.
Sharon said: “We are absolutely thrilled to have been awarded a further five years of funding from The Big Lottery.
“Thank you to all of our staff, volunteers, partners and most importantly the young people we’ve worked with for helping to make the project such a great success.
“We couldn’t do the work we do without input from a wide range of people and the local community.”
Figures produced by Ynot Aspire show that since it was founded they have contributed to a 22 per cent reduction in young people not in education, training or employment, a 30 per cent cut in youth related anti-social behaviour, and a 74 per cent drop in young people becoming involved in crime.
Sharon added: “We said we would aim for a five per cent reduction in first time entrants to the criminal justice system and at the end of five years we’ve achieved a 74 per cent reduction.
“That’s part of all the fantastic multi-agency work that’s going on. It’s that kind of wrap around service that we need for prevention and early intervention.”
The charity has also trained over 40 community volunteers, helped boost the self-confidence of over 400 young people and helped more than 60 youngsters find secure accommodation.
Sharon praised the hard work of staff and volunteers and hopes to continue their success over the next five years.
She said they now aim to address the gap in young people’s mental health and wellbeing services in the area and continue with their volunteering opportunities and mentoring project.
Denis Aldridge, Hyndburn council’s homeless and housing advice manager, congratulated the volunteers on securing the funding.
He said: “The project is certainly playing an important role in supporting young homeless people who have complex needs. There is no doubt that the mentors connect and relate to the young people far more effectively than people in authority.”
Moira Staines, career guidance and development manager at Accrington and Rossendale College, said: “I am extremely impressed with Ynot Aspire and how it supports our work supporting 16 to 18-year-old vulnerable students.”