Anti-social behaviour (ASB) carries a range of implications for perpetrators and victims including the effects of criminal damage, social isolation, fear, deteriorating built environment, isolating of young people in their own communities, potential exclusion from education, training, skills and job opportunities. It may also result in disinvestment.
Young Colchester is a pilot project commissioned by Colchester Borough Councils’ Safer Colchester Partnership (CBC SCP) and the University of Essex (UoE) Hefce-funded Catalyst initiative to assist in the development of interventions to reduce anti-social behaviour (ASB), improve the life chances of marginal young people, make better use of community assets and promote inclusive economic growth and prosperity.
Colchester has a high population of children and young people relative to other Essex towns. The majority are thriving but a significant proportion, especially those from disadvantaged neighbourhoods, face challenges that limit their life chances and their capacity to fully engage with education, community assets and the local skilled labour market.
Piloting a Partnership Approach
Action based research and partnership data show that ASB remains high in certain hotspots in Colchester and tackling this is SCP’s Key Priority 3 within its current plan. Two particular hotspot areas were identified for the pilot, in Colchester's Castle ward and New Town ward, based on police statistics on ASB in October 2017 indicating a small but significant escalation. ASB perpetrated by young people was a particular community concern in these areas at the time.
Colchester Borough Council commissioned Essex Youth Service to deliver two intervention projects in New Town & Castle wards in Colchester. The project was delivered from February to July 2018, and two experienced, detached youth workers were deployed to work in the two locations for 3 hours per week over a 22 week period. The overall goal was to establish working relationships with young people in these two areas, with the aim of encouraging diversionary activities and reducing or preventing ASB-related activities.
The approach undertaken in this project draws on recent academic and practitioner studies of youth offending, youth victimisation, desistance, ASB, NEETS, post-16 education challenges, community assets and life chances. It aimed to assist in the further development of a robust local knowledge base around ‘what works’ to reduce ASB and to enhance young people’s life chances.
As a result of the pilot Colchester Borough Council is now forming a Youth Strategy Group with partners to develop a strategic vision for ‘Young Colchester’.
Page updated 17/09/18