This evening, I had the privilege of opening the Turnaround Centre on South End.
The Turnaround Centre is somewhere young people can go to get advice and access services. It is particularly focused on those who are at risk of getting caught up in crime, either as a perpertrator or a victim. The initial idea was part of a package of measures agreed between the Council and the police in the autumn of 2008 as a response to rising levels of knife crime and serious youth violence.
The Centre exemplifies two really important ideas. First, partnership working - it is not a Council services or a police initiative. The two organisations are working together with a number of voluntary sector organisations with some private sector support to deliver the project. So young people can get all the support they need in one place.
Second, early intervention. In the past, we have waited till kids are 16, 17 or 18 years old and committing serious crimes before intervening. By that point, it is both very difficult and very expensive to change their behaviour. What the Turnaround Centre is about is trying to catch kids when they are much younger and just starting to be at risk and stop them getting into serious trouble.
I had a little to do with taking this idea forward when I was the Cabinet Member for Community Safety so it was great to be there to open it today. My congratulations and sincere thanks to those who have made it happen.