Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) Angus Macpherson visited Swindon based charity BIOS Settings for Life (BIOS) on Friday 18 March, to find out how they have used a grant from the PCC fund to create a place for young people to meet.
BIOS, a youth work project, provides outreach support for young people across Swindon, aiming to reduce anti-social behaviour and the risk of offending and reoffending behaviours amongst young people. They work closely with young people, to get to the route of their problems and inspire them to make changes and encourage them to make positive life choices.
They offer support to young people through their mobile youth club, and host key conversations about a range of topics including school, family, relationships, bullying, self-esteem, criminal behaviours, drugs and alcohol.
Bios received £2036 from the PCC fund which is managed by the Community Foundation and comes from the sale of unclaimed property under the Police Property Act.
Together with young people from the Meadowcroft area they identified the need for seating near the community centre and used money from the PCC fund to buy and install benches to allow young people to meet friends and socialise.
Mr Macpherson met BIOS Project Manager Amy Cox and Swindon Youth for Christ Worker Dave Clarke at Meadowcroft Community Centre.
Mr Macpherson said: “It is important that young people have places to go and hang out. Young people can sometimes be perceived as causing trouble because they are meeting friends and hanging out in what is considered the wrong place.
“This has given young people a space they can call their own. They are still hanging around but doing so with a purpose to meet friends and socialise.
“It is important that young people have this opportunity to socialise with friends as it helps them to learn important life skills but also helps us to reduce negativity around young people and the perception that all young people are out causing anti-social behaviour.”
BIOS project manager Amy Cox said: Lots of young people use the park, so they asked us for the seating area.
“ The local young people have taken ownership of the seating, and every week we set the BIOS mobile youth club up near the seating area. In the winter we can have up to 20 young people attending and in summer up to 60 young people.
“The seating area has created a focus to for our mobile youth club and by having the seating away from the community centre we are reducing the risk of anti-social behaviour.”
For more information about BIOS please go to www.settings4life.org.uk