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Hackney innovation scheme to distract young people from gangs

Teenagers in Hackney vulnerable to gang crime and child sexual exploitation (CSE) are to benefit from £1.97m worth of children’s social care innovation fund money.

Children's minister Edward Timpson announced innovation funding for two schemes in Hackney and Hampshire.

Hackney Council will use the money to set up an intensive programme of "education and intervention” aimed at supporting families of young people at risk of gang involvement and CSE.

This will take place away from neighbourhoods with a gang presence. There will be a strong focus on family-wide support which will also help to avoid children being taken into care.  

A council spokeswoman said it was early days and that it was not yet sure whether the programme would take place within a designated centre or separate locations. 

Children’s minister Edward Timpson said: “I know there isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach to helping some of the most troubled families, they need the tailored support that is right for them and that will help get their lives back on track as and when they need it. By focusing on the needs of these vulnerable young people, Hackney can ensure they deliver real results for local families and I’m excited to see where this project leads.”

This latest funding at Hackney follows the announcement of £3.8m of innovation fund money to be distributed to four projects involved in supporting victims of CSE.

This includes £1.2m for local authorities across Yorkshire, including Rotherham Council, to recruit and train specialist foster carers and provide safe care placements.

Meanwhile, Hampshire County Council has been handed £4m of innovation fund money to overhaul its children’s social care services. 

This will include setting up a new multi-agency team focused on identifying and protecting children at risk of sexual abuse.  

The overhaul will also see domestic abuse, substance abuse and mental health specialists working alongside children’s social workers and recruitment for volunteers to support families in crisis.