November One in a Million - Changing the lives of young people in Harlow
Changing Lives in Harlow is an early intervention and prevention project that is incredibly pertinent in today’s society. With a 13% rise in recorded serious youth violence offences (10-17-year olds) from 2016/17-2018/19 in Essex, Harlow was an area of particular concern. The project aims to raise children’s awareness about the dangers of gangs and gang activity and prevent them from getting involved in criminal activity.
Set up in 2018 by David Simmons and Ben Doyle, the project has already helped over 1000 children. Through strong partnership working and commitment from local physical activity groups many positive opportunities have been created. Kazen Kai Martial Arts, Canon Brooks Golf Club, Harlow Rugby Club, SK Sports and Flick Trick Sports, a specialist sports coaching company – all have delivered fun and engaging sessions for the young people. Alongside this, Essex Police and the NHS have provided an hour of mentoring to support the young people.
Changing Lives in Harlow has created positive role models, new social and sporting experiences and allowed the children to feel part of the wider community outside of school.
Ben and David said: “When you do something, you never expect to be noticed and winning the ‘One in a million Award’ is such an honour! We would like to thank all of our funders and sponsors including Cleanbrite, Alisped and ABN Security for their continued sponsorship and finally to Active Essex for believing in us from the very start and for giving us an abundance of support.”
Children aged 6-16 can attend the sessions and be referred on to the programme via local services. In order to make the group more accessible, David and Ben offer free transport from and to different schools across Harlow.
Kelly Harman, Active Essex Relationship Manager for West Essex said: “The Programme has been successful due to the commitment from all involved. With numbers of anti-social and violent offenses on the rise it is important for young people to have positive role models. David and Ben and their partners have worked hard to give the young people of Harlow exciting opportunities.”
Changing Lives in Harlow were finalist at the National Diversity Awards in September 2019 and recently won the Changing Lives through sport category at the Active Harlow Awards.