Outreach project restarts to engage with young people facing challenges

SYEP have hosted mountain climbing trips for young people 

SYEP have hosted mountain climbing trips for young people - Credit: SYEP

A community outreach project has restarted to help engage with young people and combat issues such as litter and anti-social-behaviour.

Despite being disrupted by Covid last year, Sprowston Youth Engagement Project's (SYEP) Bigger Picture project was still able to engage with more than 100 young people locally.

Drop-in session were set up over the winter for the most vulnerable people, before the project restarted at Sprowston Recreation Ground on Wednesday evening. 

Project lead Clare Lincoln said: "Historically we have always had issues on Barkers Lane and Sprowston Recreation Ground. People are perceived to be causing ASB for swearing and leaving litter. They are not necessarily bad, it's just how people perceive them.

Clare Lincoln, project lead for SYEP (Sprowston Youth Engagement Project) 

Clare Lincoln, project lead for SYEP (Sprowston Youth Engagement Project) - Credit: SYEP

"In the fist lockdown we started to see more and more young people. We attend a lot of safer neighbourhood meetings and we wanted to address issues and help. We have increased our age range to young adults up to 25.

"We noticed youth crime was increasing and we had a stabbing in the area as well [March 2019], which was concerning for residents, and another reason for us to go out and work with young people."

Some of the issues identified during community meetings were loud music being played and drugs. 

Miss Lincoln added: "Because of lockdown, there was a lot more hidden harm and pressure on families. A lot of young people we are working with were at breakdown from spending so long with each other and the pressures of homeschooling." 

SYEP works with local beat managers, and seek to partner with the likes of the Matthew Project, a drug and alcohol recovery charity.

Most Read

The project also provides feedback to the councils after speaking to young people. For example, on Wednesday evening, SYEP were told there were no nets for the basketball hoops. 

In total, SYEP engaged with 30 people in Sprowston on Wednesday. Old Catton Recreation Ground is focused on every Thursday, Friday is a floating day and Saturdays are dedicated to young adults.

A number of activities also take place including a youth leadership course, focused drop-ins and a mountain climbing trip.