Activities plan helps halt yobs on Doncaster estate

Stainforth

Stainforth

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Antisocial behaviour and vandalism has been slashed in a Doncaster village after a three month blitz to provide activities for at-risk youngsters.

Official figures state there was a 24.7 per cent reduction in nuisance behaviour in Stainforth following a three month crackdown in the town by the organisation EPIC Youth Crime Prevention - which meets youngster to arrange alternative activities.

Reports of criminal damage were down 34.4 per cent over the same period.

The group works in partnership with the police and probation service and arranges activities, while warning people about how their behaviour could affect their future and trying to make them more ambitious. They also work with youngsters as an alternative to them because involved with the criminal justice system.

The organisation is now moving to another part of Doncaster, and is looking at taking action in Conisbrough, Mexborough and Edlington in the coming months.

Stainforth was the first area they have targeted since they were set up in Doncaster last year. Epic was sent out to speak to the groups which were causing the nuisance behaviour on the streets.

Programme manager Marcus Isman-Egal said it was cheaper to engage youngsters with activities in the community than for them to enter the criminal justice system.

He said: "We focus on resilience and mental toughness, giving young people the skills needed to deal with modern Britain.

"The team has now moved on to Conisbrough. We think the activities are great, but we also need the messages to inspire change. The activities are a carrot, and we do things like zorbing, fencing, archery - it's not just football."

They also look to improve the aspirations of youngsters, and in Conisbrough have spoken with teenagers about setting up a photographic exhibition in the village, with youngster contributing the pictures from their point of view. The organisation looks to involve the youngsters it works with in their communities, and remains involved with them for several months.

Mr Isman-Egal added: "People can choose not to work with us but would have to consider what it meant being charged by the criminal justice system. A criminal conviction will have a big impact on them in the future. It may stop them getting a particular job or from getting into a particular country."

Mayor of Stainforth Lorraine Crosby said there had been concerns over antisocial behaviour in the town, but it was less of an issue now.

She said there had been a problem around Princess Avenue, and she had at one point seen youths stopping traffic with their bicycles and scooters, and was aware there had been reports of youths throwing things at buses.

"Now there is relative calm," she said. "The Police community support officers were also a help. They went to see some of the parents and warned them over possible Acceptable Behaviour Contracts."

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