Three new reports on partnership working between faith and local government.

Big Lottery invests £25m to tackle first-time offending

The Big Lottery Fund (BIG) will distribute £25m of funds to a range of nationwide projects designed to help young people avoid becoming offenders.

As part of its Realising Ambition programme, BIG has earmarked 25 projects that tackle criminal activity and anti-social behaviour in eight to 14-year-olds among which the pot will be split. The focus is to scale up or replicate existing projects that have delivered proven results, with some being implemented in the UK for the first time, and all to commence either later this year or in 2013 or 2014.

Youth charity Catch22 worked with specialist partners including Darlington Social Research Unit, Rathbone, Substance and Young Foundation to identify the diverse range of projects to receive the BIG funding.

Young people living in disadvantaged areas and who are considered to be at risk of being drawn into offending and anti-social behaviour are to be targeted by the projects, which will be implemented in a range of settings, such as schools, communities and within families. The projects are being funded for an initial five-year period, over which time they will be closely monitored and assessed by their providers.

Distribution of funding

The largest amount of funding, £1,572,639, is awarded to Barnardo’s, which will introduce a new substance abuse and violence prevention programme that is new to the UK but had success in the US. Other recipients of a figure around the £1.5m mark are Action for Children (for its intensive short-term family intervention programme, Functional Family Therapy), Oxford Brookes University (for a Strengthening Families Programme) and Barnardo’s again, for LifeSkills Training.

The latter Barnardo's programme will introduce a successful drug-abuse early intervention programme from the US into the UK. In America the programme has seen drug use among participants reduced by up to 75 per cent, alcohol use by up to 60 per cent, tobacco use by up to 87 per cent and verbal or physical aggression by up to half. The programme’s estimated savings to society are £12.78 for every £1 spent on it.

Other projects revolve around increasing academic engagement, preventing substance misuse, teaching alternatives to conflict, aggression and violence, and challenging prejudice.

Building an evidence base

Peter Wanless, Big Lottery Fund CEO, said: “With Catch22’s help, we are extending massively the reach of 25 projects that have been shown to work well and have the potential to be replicated well beyond the numbers they are currently helping. Our support will help thousands of young people across the UK to increase their prospects and aspirations, overcome problematic behaviour and avoid pitfalls that could ultimately lead them into a cycle of offending.

“But the benefits we hope will be wider still. This investment will build an evidence base so the UK can understand far better how we can more effectively support children and young people in the future and prevent first-time offending.”

David Hopkins, acting head of national programmes at Catch22, said the programme would "bring about a step change" in work on early intervention in the UK. "Through the programme we'll have more, and better, evidence of which approaches make a difference and how best to roll these out," he said.

“It's vital that we use our combined resources wisely to deliver the best possible results for young people, families, and the wider community. Realising Ambition will help us do that."

This article has been taken from www.civilsociety.co.uk – http://www.civilsociety.co.uk/finance/news/content/12382/big_lottery_invests_25m_to_tackle_first-time_offending?utm_source=14+May+Fundraising&utm_campaign=14+May+Fundraising&utm_medium=email