Leyland community group launching youth project to help tackle gang culture

A Leyland community group is launching a youth project to help tackle gang culture.

Friday, 23rd October 2020, 12:30 pm
Sophie Wilding, who runs The Community Network and Outreach Service in Leyland.

The Community Network and Outreach Service will host a talk on anti-knife crime today at 6-30pm at 203c Dunkirk Lane in Leyland. It will be led by Byron Highton who set up The J-J Effect following the brutal murder of his younger brother in Preston.

Sophie Wilding, who runs the outreach service, hopes the project will help youngsters become more involved in the community and give them something positive to do.

She said: "We want to help them with their confidence and careers - anything to get them off the streets and being productive.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

"There are gangs in Leyland. There are groups that fight with each other because they are from different estates. People always assume a knife attack is not going to happen again."

She says there are many vulnerable people of all ages that are losing vital support systems in the area, including for youngsters. The outreach service is working hard to bring them back.

"I think it's extremely important, especially now. I have five children and there's literally nothing for them to do. It's sad that there's not a lot that's happening around here for them," she added.

"Youths hang around Moss Side shops with their hoods up. It's quite frightening."

But Sophie hopes the project will help to change people's attitudes towards young people, as she says many do not cause any trouble.

"My son has never been in trouble and he doesn't smoke or drink but people assume he's a thug because he dresses all in black. So we want to break down barriers and get them involved in things like litter picking, as they're going to be the adults of our society," she said.

The project will cater to two age groups: 10 - 14 and 14 and older. Activities will include arts and crafts, grime music sessions, and messy play.

For more information about the project and its activities, search for The Community Network and Outreach Service on Facebook.