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A new £150,000 scheme to support young people with mental health needs is being launched by West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner and BITA Pathways.

Roots for Life will run for a year in Birmingham and Solihull, offering advice and guidance to 18 to 25-year-olds wanting to get into work, educational opportunities and volunteering.

The money will be spent on community outreach workers who will guide young people with mental health needs who have already offended or are at risk of committing crimes.

Roots for Life will offer one-to-one support to get into paid work or volunteering, while also boosting self-esteem and confidence. It can also lead to training and qualifications, work experience placements and help with well-being and recovery.

West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner David Jamieson said: “This is such a worthwhile project.

“BITA Pathways has a wealth of experience in delivering this type of support and last year the organisation helped 69 people into paid work.

“We hope to engage with around 150 people through this project: that’s 150 young people offered a new start in life, one that could lead to employment, qualifications and healthier self-confidence and self-worth. More people in work also means a stronger West Midlands economy.

“We need to break down the barriers around mental health and offending – especially where our young people are concerned – and this project will go a huge way in doing that.

“By working with former offenders or those at risk of offending, we also reduce the number of victims and that can only be a good thing.”

Fiona Coakley, Service Delivery Manager for BITA Pathways, added: “We are delighted and excited about delivering the new Roots for Life Project – we are going to help lots of young adults on their personal journey  away from offending and on the road to recovery and employment.”

The project wad launched on Friday, September 23.

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