A RHYL project aimed at young people has received a boost to tackle youth crime and exploitation.

The West Rhyl Young People’s Project will be taking their support and activities to the streets of North Wales after securing a £79,000 grant from the Youth Endowment Fund.

The funding will enable West Rhyl Young People’s Project to employ a team of youth workers to go out into the community and help young people who lack adult support and are vulnerable to violent crime and criminal exploitation.

Hannah Rowan, Project Manager at West Rhyl Young People’s Project, said: “Social distancing and stay-at-home measures have made it even more difficult to identify when a young person is at-risk of being drawn into crime or exploited.

“Funding from the Youth Endowment Fund will help us reach vulnerable young people who may be hidden from sight or feel uncomfortable seeking help through traditional channels.”

The team will target locations across Rhyl, Denbighshire and North Wales where young people congregate. They’ll offer street-based youth work and run free sporting activities in the evenings, such as non-contact boxing, to engage young people and build rapport.

The regular presence of youth workers who are easily accessible will give young people someone trustworthy they can talk to and share their problems with.

Building relationships in this way will help the charity to support young people with issues such as substance misuse and channel their energies into activities other than anti-social behaviour. It also helps youth workers to identify when someone is at-risk of criminal or sexual exploitation, including being drawn into county lines.

The Youth Endowment Fund is an independent charitable trust set up by the Home Office. It funds, supports and evaluates projects in England and Wales which work to prevent children and young people from getting caught up in violent crime.

West Rhyl Young People’s Project is one of 130 organisations to share part of a £6.5m grant pot from the Youth Endowment Fund to support vulnerable young people impacted by COVID-19.

Jon Yates, Executive Director at Youth Endowment Fund, said: “The last few months has taken its toll on those young people who normally rely on support from youth workers or teachers. As life slowly gets back to normal, we need to ensure those who are vulnerable and need this support, are able to get it.

He adds: “I’m delighted our funding will help West Rhyl Young People’s Project expand its work in the community.”