Could new programme help prevent young people from entering a life of crime?

New programme could help redirect youngsters from a life of crime.
New programme could help redirect youngsters from a life of crime.

A five-year initiative launching in South Lanarkshire this year to help young people avoid being drawn into a criminal life could have an impact far beyond the county’s borders.

The initiative, Inclusion as Prevention, will aim to re-shape how services both for children and young people who are at risk of offending, and for their families, are designed and delivered.

Working in partnership, South Lanarkshire Council, Action for Children, Centre for Youth and Criminal Justice and the Dartington Service Design Lab will undertake the initiative, which was one of only eight applicants across Scotland who were successful in applying for the Big Lottery Fund’s Early Action System Change Fund.

The fund tackles the causes of inequality at their roots by bringing together Scotland’s voluntary and public sector organisations to redesign and re-organise their services and help prevent children, young people and families from reaching crisis point.

Once the preparatory work has been completed, Inclusion as Prevention will launch in Rutherglen and Cambuslang with the aim of using what is learnt there to later expand throughout South Lanarkshire.

Drawing on the complementary areas of expertise and knowledge of the partners, community organisations and local people, it will look at the services that are provided in connection with young people who are at risk of offending in such a fundamental way that its findings have the potential to be considered on a world-wide basis.

Liam Purdie, Head of Children and Justice Services at South Lanarkshire Council, said: “Over the course of this, there will be numerous opportunities for young people, families and wider communities in Rutherglen and Cambuslang to be involved in activities to re-design these services.

“At its heart, this will be about ensuring that the right services are provided at the right time to young people to give them the best chance to avoid a path in life that involves offending and the consequences that ensue from it.

“It is a start in life for them that benefits everyone.”