Police funding helps West Norfolk charity to keep youngsters straight

The Open Road West Norfolk charity is holding an open evening with the Mayor of West Norfolk Barry Ayres attending. ANL-141127-081740009
The Open Road West Norfolk charity is holding an open evening with the Mayor of West Norfolk Barry Ayres attending. ANL-141127-081740009
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A pioneering charity in West Norfolk has won funding to provide 10 young people at risk of offending training towards a professional motor mechanics qualification.

Open Road West Norfolk has been awarded almost £30,000 by the county’s Police and Crime Commissioner’s (PCC) Children and Young People Fund, which aims to help prevent vulnerable youngsters become offenders or victims of crime.

Norfolk PCC Stephen Bett will visit the charity on Thursday, May 21.

Terry Smith, trustee of Open Road, said the focus was on providing early intervention to young people identified as being at risk of falling into crime, either as an offender or victim.

Mr Smith, who has been involved with Open Road since its launch more than five years ago, added: “If we are going to really start improving the lives of young people then we need to interact with vulnerable youngsters a lot earlier.

“When they take a course with us their self esteem builds and they start to have a purpose. Motor vehicles are seen as cool to be involved with but, more importantly, they will have a better chance of getting an apprenticeship after completing the course.

“We hope to help young people become reliable, dependable, honest and trustworthy – a team player and a sensible part of society long term.”

Open Road will work with 10 young people between the ages of 16 and 18 over the next year, training towards a level one award qualification in motor vehicle maintenance from the Institute of the Motor Industry.

Mr Bett said it was a privilege to be able to support Open Road.

He said: “Supporting projects like this is one way we’re taking a targeted approach to get funding to where it’s needed most to keep young people safe and out of trouble.

“We received 40 applications for funding from organisations working with young people across Norfolk.

“With involvement from Norfolk Children’s Services, the Youth Offending Team and five young people from youth advisory boards, we had a very informed panel and I am confident that the 13 projects we funded will really make a difference.

“As well as building confidence and self-esteem, Open Road is helping these young people establish a solid foundation of work and life skills, which will benefit them as they enter adult life.

“This is the basis upon which they will, hopefully, set off on the right path, overcoming barriers and making positive decisions.”