Children and young people in Thurrock are facing a brighter future thanks to a series of grants from the Essex Violence and Vulnerability Unit (VVU) to two organisations in Thurrock.

The VVU awarded £42,923 to two in Thurrock that are working to help and support young people who are at the risk of being exposed to or led into crime, or who have been a victim of crime.

The charities that will benefit from the grants are:

Essex Boys and Girls Clubs, who have received £24,989 to develop ‘Theatre For All’, a new creative programme for young people in several locations across Essex including Thurrock.
Riverview Charitable Trust, who have received £17,934 to help deliver physical and mental health support through multi-sports and crafts activities to young people aged 8-18.
Across Essex the VVU has provided 18 grants, worth up to nearly half a million pounds, to a wide range of charities to support young people.

Roger Hirst, Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner for Essex and Chair of the Essex Violence and Vulnerability Partnership congratulated all the charities who are recipients in the latest round of VVU funding, all working to support local communities whilst helping to keep the county’s young and vulnerable away from crime.

Mr. Hirst said: “Crime is preventable; tackling violence and protecting our young and vulnerable people are key priorities in my Police and Crime Plan. The VVU grant supports activities that give children and young people access to mentoring, counselling, friendships and trusted adults. Many offer positive activities for young people to get involved with – sport, drama, youth clubs – and provide targeted support away from involvement in violent crime or antisocial behaviour.”

Mr. Hirst continued: “All the charities we are funding are committed to protecting young people, to give them a better future. By working together, we can make Essex a safer place for children to live and grow up in.”

Riverview Charitable Trust will be using the VVU’s funding to keep their youth clubs open for weekly activities and mental health support for local young people. This year’s funding will allow them to continue offering open access to a safe space in Purfleet on Thames, for positive activity, plus mentoring support and intervention. Previously, the funding supported a 14-year-old beginner at table tennis, who became quickly skilled and placed third in a county-wide tournament.

Rio Odeku, Youth Lead, Riverview Charitable Trust, said: “Growing up and now working in Purfleet on Thames, seeing the day to day of how much the young people here enjoy being part of our youth clubs, being awarded this VVU grant for the next year will provide a much needed boost to a community of young people that deserves it!”

Essex Boys and Girls Club will use the VVU’s funding to help fund a new project for young people aged 11+. They aim to use theatre arts to promote youth voice and enable young people to take part in engaging and creative workshops led by theatre and youth work professionals. They also hope to provide a safe space for young people to grow as individuals and members of their community. The free workshops will offer young people new opportunities, enhance their transferrable skills to aid future career choices or progression in their education, and build resilience and confidence to feel empowered and listened to, therefore aiding their own good mental health and wellbeing.

Jessica Pease, Arts Development Officer, Essex Boys and Girls Clubs, said: “We are delighted to receive the funding from the VVU and are excited to be able to offer Theatre for all. This is a programme for young people, inspired by young people, and we are passionate about creating dynamic, fun and engaging workshops which allow young people to feel empowered, inspired and listened to. This will be a place where young people can make positive choices about the issues that concern them and inspire their communities through their own performances. The funding from the VVU enables to us to offer so much more to our young people and we cannot wait to get started.”

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