A charity which supports young people in north Wiltshire has been given a £2,750 grant thanks to the Police and Crime Commissioner’s Covid19 Response Fund.
The RISE Trust has been awarded the money from the Wiltshire Community Foundation’s Coronavirus Response Fund, which is supported by funding from the PCC Angus Macpherson.
Mr Macpherson said he was pleased to see that the £50,000 he has allocated to helping organisations and charities affected by the Covid19 pandemic was already making a difference.
He said: “The RISE Trust is carrying out vital work in our communities – supporting children and young people to help keep them on the straight and narrow in the anticipation that this will potentially divert them away from falling into low-level crime, anti-social behaviour or drugs.
“In order to be eligible to apply for funding, organisations need to provide my office with assurances that this money is being used to address the priorities set out within my Police and Crime Plan, and there is no doubt that the work The RISE Trust does is providing huge benefits for young people, their families and the wider community.”
RISE Trust youth co-ordinator Danielle Blake said the grant had been vital in funding their work running sessions in town centres and parks, which she says is badly needed in the wake of the pandemic with young people suffering from isolation and anxiety about returning to school, as well as being at risk of vulnerable and being drawn to antisocial behaviour which could entail drink, drugs and misadventure.
She said by taking time to meet youngsters in their own environment they forge more of a bond and by being out every week, youth workers had become trusted by young people within the community.
“We are so grateful for this grant because it is really making a difference to the young people,” she said. “What we do is about making them feel reassured so they know there is someone they can talk to.
“For them just seeing that someone notices them is really valuable. So if they are not feeling like they want to talk, there is someone to say ‘hey, are you okay?’. That gives them an opportunity to open up and talk about or ask something that is troubling them.”
The Trust’s teams are working in Chippenham, Malmesbury, Cricklade and Purton and have been spending extra time in Calne supporting young people affected by last month’s tragic collision in which four young men died.
“Normally we work in Calne on a Thursday but we have been asked to work at the skatepark on a Friday to engage with the young people. We thought that after the anxiety of coronavirus and the lockdown, and now this tragedy, we wanted to do more for them,” said Mrs Blake.
“I am really glad we did because we’ve seen young people from Year 8 right up to those leaving college. It’s given them the chance to talk about feeling really sad. We’ve used some of the money from the grant to do some extra sessions.”
Across north Wiltshire the youth teams have been meeting children as young as ten and young adults aged up to 21 at their nightly sessions. They are there to offer sound advice on issues such as drugs and drink as well as other issues. For example, they spoke to young people in Malmesbury about the risks of jumping into deep water at Daniels Well and to groups in one area who had been lighting fires on a sports field.
The RISE Trust has children’s centres in Calne, Royal Wootton Bassett and Chippenham funded by Wiltshire Council, covering Corsham, Malmesbury, Cricklade and Purton. It’s youth teams are out in Malmesbury on Tuesday, Chippenham and Cricklade on Wednesday, Calne and Purton on Thursday and Chippenham and Calne again on Friday.
To learn more about the PCC’s Covid19 Response Fund go to: https://www.wiltshire-pcc.gov.