BARONESS Helen Newlove took a tour of anti-social behaviour hotspots in Castleford this week to see how a £90,000 pot of cash will be used to tackle underage drinking.
As reported in the Express in May, the two-year ‘Positive Choices’ project – led by Baroness Newlove in her role as government champion for active, safer communities – will blitz anti-social behaviour in ten communities across England.
The initiative, run in conjunction with Wakefield Council and Castleford neighbourhood policing team (NPT), will see youth workers and community groups work in areas such as Cutsyke to deter youths from drinking by taking them to the new multi-million pound youth facility in Airedale, The Hut.
Baroness Newlove said: “Positive Choices is a grassroots project that pulls together proven methods for tackling problem drinking.
“It’s a real community partnership backed by the local authority and police. But most importantly, the young people of Castleford will be actively involved throughout.
“It is vital they are part of the solution and their voices heard at all times. I’m confident that over the next two years this inclusive approach will deliver real results in tackling the blight of binge and under-age drinking.”
Baroness Newlove – whose husband Gary was kicked to death by a gang of youths outside his home in 2007 – visited a number of areas in Airedale and Cutsyke where youths are known to gather before visiting the new youth facility at Kershaw Avenue, which opened its doors last week.
Insp Dave Bugg of the NPT, said: “We are delighted Baroness Newlove visited Castleford to see the work now ongoing with partners to provide better facilities for our young people and help divert them from anti social behaviour.
“Securing the £90,000 grant was hugely positive for the town and its young people and we already have seen the opening of excellent new facilities making a difference to the lives of local youngsters such as the Hut.
“There are a lot of good children in this area and experience has shown us that where good facilities are provided, the whole community benefits in the long term.”
Insp Bugg said police would conduct street patrols on Friday and Saturday evenings targeting known hotspots. With consent of parents, youngsters will be taken to The Hut, where £10,000 of funding will be spent providing activities for them.