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KEEPING YOUNGSTERS AWAY FROM CRIME

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An innovative project offering artistic and sporting activities to teenagers most at risk of committing crime has b...
An innovative project offering artistic and sporting activities to teenagers most at risk of committing crime has been given a funding boost of up to£12m.

All the projects, called Splash Extra, will be based on high crime estates in England as part of the government's strategy for tackling street crime. They will give youngsters constructive activities to keep them out of trouble over the holidays.

Activities might include team sports, including football, abseiling, video making, art classes, journalism, web design and DJ classes.

On the estates that ran Splash schemes during summer 2000, there was a 36 per cent reduction in domestic burglary and an 18 per cent reduction in 'youth crime' in the area.

This compares with a reduction of just six per cent and eight per cent respectively in similar high crime areas. Each activity costs an average of just£2.87 an hour for each young person.

The Summer Splash scheme, run by the Youth Justice Board, will receive the cash from the National Lottery's New Opportunities Fund.

It will enable it to expand almost five-fold this year, from 65 projects for 13 to17 year olds to 300. A further 300 will be set up on the same estates for 9 to 12 year olds. This will increase more than seven-fold the numbers able to take part in summer activities in the street crime areas, from 6,500 to around 48,000.

Culture secretary Tessa Jowell said:

'Engaging youngsters in sport or the arts can give them the tools they need to make a success of their lives and keep them away from crime. The arts and sport can encourage young people to make choices, decisions and personal statements, to have enthusiasm, to take risks and take responsibility.'

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