Addressing Community Safety and Helping Young People – Detached Youth Work Initiative
The Street Safe initiative has been in operation since September 2009. Operating in the North Down area, this is a partnership between Bangor and Holywood Town Centre Management, SafeZone and FASA. The initiative is funded by the North Down Community Safety Partnership.
The aim is to engage with young people who may be involved in anti-social behavior. Local residents can contact the PSNI, who in turn will radio through to the team on the bus. We can then respond to the call and address any issues with the young people. Engaging with young people in this way is proving to be very effective as we interact with them in various ways.
A questionnaire to collate information to evaluate the initiative is completed by some of the young people. We find this is an excellent tool to open discussions on the young people’s drug/alcohol misuse and their behaviour and the impact it can have on community members.
The van is equipped with a TV, Wii, hot drinks facilities and a CD player. These are all great ways to get the young people to open up to us in an informal way.
We have had quite a number of young people who have engaged with FASA workers though this initiative, as we are not there to arrest the young people and we are not threatening in any way, we hope to help them address issues that are affecting their lives.
Following strict protocols, workers and young people feel safe to engage with each other.
FASA acquired an additional StreetSafe bus in 2009 through funding from Ulster Garden Villages, this has been used across Belfast & Ards at events to highlight issues with Young People and is used as and when needed by local areas in conjunction with FASA, local PSNI and Community Safety.