FISHING is being used to tackle knife crime in Milton Keynes

A £100,000 bid is being made to try to tackle knife crime involving young people in Milton Keynes… with projects including £12,000 on learning about fishing.

Monday, 1st March 2021, 3:03 pm

Milton Keynes Council leaders agreed to spend the money in January 2020 after a tragic spate of knife incidents left the city reeling.

Now a leading councillor is to update a committee next week on what the money has been spent on.

Whether it has helped or not is set to be the subject of a future report, although the work is not expected to produce measurable results for several years.

Fishing in action

Cllr Lauren Townsend (Lab, Bletchley West) is the council’s cabinet member for community safety. She chaired a committee involving the police, the council, MK Hospital and schools from the city.

She says: “It has become clear from the discussions in our meetings that reducing knife crime and violence will not happen overnight, and that if an ‘instant remedy’ existed, we would have used it already.”

In her report to Safer MK partnership on March 10 she says: “Members of the task and finish group agreed that a long-term holistic approach to knife crime and youth violence is what is needed to make a real difference.

“And that the issue of young people carrying knives and becoming involved in dangerous behaviours cannot be treated just as a criminal problem, but as a public health and societal one too.”

Cllr Townsend’s report outlined the projects given the lion’s share of the cash. About £8,000 is still in the pot and a meeting on March 11 will decide what to do with it.

The projects given money are:

> Hazard Alley at The Safety Centre in Kiln Farm has been given £40,000 to help children stay, how to understand risks and identify danger by acting them out.

Work has started on a street scene of a recognisable local centre; with a ‘corner shop’, takeaway, bench, bin and hedges.

> Based in Bletchley, SOFEA received £20,700 to allow them to continue their mentoring project with partners CLARiTY.

The charity works with the Youth Offending Team to identify young people who would benefit the most from mentoring.

> Beacon Angling Club has been given £11,835.33 to convert a currently disused lake into a specialist area for young people to learn to fish and about fisheries management.

They will work to involve young people at risk of criminal exploitation, to offer diversionary activities and teach them skills.

> MK Gallery has been given £20,000 to partner with Paramount Parkour and create a two-year street arts programme for 550 young people.

Young people will be encouraged to channel their energy into a fun and currently popular sport

Cllr Townsend’s report adds that each project aims to divert young people away from negative influences and give them a renewed sense of “hope and purpose”.