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Children aged between 11 and 19 in the Lozells area of Birmingham are to be steered away from violence and crime after new funding was agreed.

The cash – which amounts to nearly £5,000 – has been seized from criminals, but will now be handed to a local organisation by the Police and Crime Commissioner, Simon Foster.

The money is going to the Birmingham Urban Rhythm Network (BURN) and will be used to offer a range of diversionary activities that can cater for up to 80 young people. The sessions include music, sport, fitness, dance, pool, table tennis and gaming.

In addition to this, there are workshops running which address local issues and concerns about youth violence, along with mental wellbeing classes.

As well as face-to-face activities, BURN are offering remote services by dropping off some of their on-site tablets to young people’s homes. This is so those who do not feel comfortable to physically engage in the services can still be involved and receive support.

These young people can access online workshops and support from a youth practitioner where they can offer self-esteem and confidence building workshops, safe and well checks and online music production workshops.

BURN typically specialises in delivering music workshops to help young artists develop their skills in music production and song writing. Other services are outreach and detached services, a homework club, sports, mentoring and diversionary activities.

During the pandemic, BURN began delivering services to young people by providing safe online workshops.

BURN is located in the heart of the Lozells area working from the Lighthouse Young People’s Centre, to whom they share a unique partnership.

The West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner, Simon Foster, said: “After 10 years of austerity and cuts to youth services, followed by a global pandemic, it is more important than ever to properly fund youth services.”

“The services that Birmingham Urban Rhythm Network are providing are extremely valuable. By engaging young people in social activities and increasing awareness of local issues, it will further prevent involvement in anti-social behaviour and criminal activities.”

The Operations Manager for BURN, Steven Clarke, said: “We are thrilled to have received this funding from the PCC as it means we can offer a greater package of support and activities to young people.

 “Many of these children and teenagers have been badly impacted by lockdown and have developed acute mental health issues, struggling with isolation and the fear of leaving their house.

“By working with trusted adults and youth workers, young people will be able to receive support and talk about the issues affecting them before they get to the point of needing emergency services.”

To find out more information on this programme you can access their website here:

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