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Charity calls on employers to back anti-crime campaign targetting teenagers

BUSINESSES are backing a unique programme run by the charity Action4Youth aimed at teenagers at risk of being sucked into crime. 
The Breakout Programme has been developed by Action4Youth with funding from Thames Valley Police in response to a rise in knife crime. Independent evaluations have shown it to be an effective anti-knife and anti-gang programme. 

The Knife Angel sculpture – made up of more than 100,000 knives confiscated during seapons amnesties around the UK – is outside Stadium MK until January 7, part of a national campaign calling for action against the rising tide of knife crime.

“Business partners are invaluable to our essential work with young people,” said Action4Youth chief executive Jenifer Cameron. “Breakout is one of our initiatives that is particularly valuable in crime prevention. We know there are many young people needing our help and our corporate partners help us to work with as many young people as possible.”  
On the three-month programme young people hear personal experiences and explore alternative choices. With individual mentoring and adventure education at Action4Youth’s Caldecotte Xperience at Caldecotte Lake in Milton Keynes, sessions enable young people to develop confidence and skills. 

To date the initiative has worked with students from Hazeley Academy, Shenley Brook End, Bridge Academy and Central thanks to funding from partners such as NHBC, MyMiltonKeynes Business Improvement District, Paradigm Housing Group, and Milton Keynes Community Foundation. Charitable trusts such as the Peter Harrison Foundation have also made the programme available to schools.  

NHBC  supports Breakout as part of its Our Communities initiative. Strategy and change manager Toni Archer said: “I think it is a really important initiative. It gives young people that are on the edge of knife crime new skills and new opportunities and helps them make more positive decisions.” 

MyMilton Keynes BID funds the programme as part of its Safe City strategy. BID chief executive Melanie Beck said: “While providing a safe place to work and live, it is vital that we create provisions to ensure that our young people have the motivation and belief in themselves which will help them become productive and happy members of our society.” 

Sir Francis Hapgood, former Chief Constable of Thames Valley Police, has welcomed the announcement that a further 11 funded programmes are booked for Milton Keynes in early 2023 but said the opportunity exists for more businesses to support Action4Youth to help more young people, more schools and more communities to Breakout from crime.  

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