The pair responsible for tackling youth antisocial behaviour in Preston during lockdown

Rosie and business partner Daniel have been running their 'Empower the Invisible' scheme in Preston, tackling violence and antisocial behaviour seen in gangs across the city.

Tuesday, 29th September 2020, 3:45 pm
Rosie and Daniel on their outreach at Avenham Park, Preston

Building trusting relationships with young people is the first step that the duo take in combatting continuous reports antisocial behaviour (ASB).

And last night they were out again in full force at Avenham Park as part of their assertive outreach, introducing themselves to gangs of youths in the area and hoping to make a change.

Rosie Latham, founder member of the project said: "Last year, we first got funding from the Lancashire police to help reduce knife crime with our scheme Beyond the Blade. We work with young people and focused primarily on the Broadgate and Avenham areas. By the end of the project we had managed to get seven knives off the streets.

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"The project has continued throughout the pandemic because we know the importance of checking in with these young people, speaking with them and being good role models for them to look up to."

Offered a grant from Clive Grunshaw, Lancashire's police and crime commissioner to continue their efforts in supporting young people, Rosie and Daniel carried on with their project and are taking to the streets three nights a week to introduce themselves to gangs of youths.

Both of them have lived a past of childhood trauma, including drug use, sexual abuse and violence and have used their experience to guide others through workshops, campaigning and volunteering.

Their passion for change is what first spurred them on to begin the scheme without any funding - relying on their determination to help young people, many of which were victims of sexual assault or violence and had lost their way as a result of their trauma.

Their Beyond the Blade scheme helped get knives off the streets of Lancashire

"Attitudes need to change with both the young people and society. A lot of these young people are just bored or kicking a football around because they have no where else to go. We often see particular groups be blamed for everything that goes wrong in an area," said Rosie.

"A lot of young people have already began to disengage with their community and we want to encourage them to look at their own behaviour and work on crime prevention. What we have now is large groups of youngsters that we have worked with through lockdown happy to see us when we drive to their estates. It's so rewarding.

"We have now had further funding to continue our work with vulnerable children and young people. We have gone out and spoken to residents in these areas and know what the problems are."

In Preston. there were 90 cases of ASB reported in August according to Police UK.

Daniel and Rosie head onto the streets three nights a week, approaching gangs of young people

And a 2016 study into the causes and key determinants of ASB in Lancashire found that mental health was reported in 43 per cent of cases and that one third involved alcohol or drugs or both. A third of these also reported mental health as an aggravating factor.

Rosie and Daniel are continuing to attract further funding to be able to continue with their work long term, although Rosie claims that cases of antisocial behaviour in the area are improving.

For more information on the scheme, and their workshops and training classes, visit empowertheinvisible.co.uk.