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Preston's Young People 'Park It'

The philosophy behind 'Park It' was brought to the Streetwise Forum by Preston Police. This scheme proposed that positively occupying youths on Friday nights would have a dramatic reduction in crime and disorder.

Following on from this success, a subgroup was set up to explore the potential of implementing a Friday night project in Preston. The project was made possible due to partnership funding from Lancashire County Council's Young People's Service and support from a number of partners.

Through regular consultations between the subgroup and the Youth Forum, a decision was made to target five of Preston's parks (Ashton, Grange, Ribbleton, Avenham and Moor Park) for targeted diversionary work. Grimsargh Green was also chosen to reach young people in rural areas.

As part of the consultation with the Youth Forum, young people were asked what activities they would like to see on the night. The answers received included inflatable activities, a mobile climbing wall, henna painting and a number of other partner led activities. The partnership work involved in this project was evident throughout, with partners providing staff and activities at no cost. This was a real strength to the project and contributed greatly to its overall success.

Project Partners included Lancashire County Council Young People's Service, Preston Police, Streetwise Forum, Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service, PCC Neighbourhood Management, Preston North End FC, Groundwork, PCC Parks Department and a number of Community Organisations.

What worked well...

The launch event for this project was Ashton Park. This park hosted the largest contribution to the amount of young people attending the project, registering 383 people. Some of the more popular activities included an inflatable indoor laser quest, the mobile climbing tower, inflatable bungee games and henna painting.

The programme was celebrated by the Mayor of Preston, who attended the Ashton Park event to show his support to the local community. The young people, families, partners, local residents and local services involved provided highly positive feedback on both the delivery and the organisation of the programme.

Analysis and feedback from the project has led to conversations around maintaining the project as a regular event during each summer holiday period, using this first project as a model of success/best practise.

Result!

The delivery of the six diversionary events carried out on Friday nights throughout some of Preston's parks and Grimsargh Green, have been hugely successful. Latest statistics have shown that the events had a very positive effect in the neighbourhoods where ASB had been a major problem. Key outputs/outcomes to which the project contributed included:

  • Total project attendance of 1073 young people
  • Over 50% aged 13-19 years old
  • Reported reduction in Crime and Disorder of over 55%
  • 62% reduction in Crime and Disorder in the Grange area alone
  • 39% female attendance across the project
  • 23% BME attendance across the project
  • Developed partnership work within Preston
  • Sustained annual flag ship programme
  • Increased positive usage of Preston¿s parks

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