In our first six months the Bedfordshire Violence and Exploitation Reduction Unit invested more than £400,000 in over 40 projects directly working with children, young people and their families in Bedfordshire. This included five community projects using sport to engage with young people, working with eight alternative education provisions to produce creative projects reinforcing the VERU’s message, as well as hosting regular workshops and conferences in our communities.

Below is the full list of projects we ran in 2019/20. More details of our funding processes for the coming year will be published in due course. 

Bedfordshire Community Projects

Active Luton

Targeting eight to 16 year olds in the Hart Hill area of Luton through sports programmes including boxing, football and cricket.

Bedford Borough Community Safety Partnership

Funding will help create a shared community hub which will benefit other agencies and the wider public in the Midland Road area of Bedford

Bedford Borough and Central Bedfordshire Local Safeguarding Children Board

Funding for Alter Ego to perform theatre productions across schools in both areas raising awareness of serious violence and criminal exploitation

Bedfordshire Opportunities for Learning Disabilities

A youth programme where participants will be encouraged to explore their thoughts around violence and anti-social behaviour involving vulnerable young people, as well as improving participants’ communication skills

Bedfordshire Youth Offending Service

Deliver a ‘Skills Mill’ programme to give young people employment skills and help them find work

Bruno’s Brazilian Soccer School     

The Unite to Learn and Play project combines classroom based lessons on English and Maths, employment skills as well as football training and games. Also working with local businesses to offer work experience and potential job opportunities to those enrolled on the programme. Funded through a separate grant.

Bruno's Brazilian Soccer School
Bruno’s Brazilian Soccer School

Freedom from Abuse

Education programme about the criminal justice system and especially joint enterprise rules for children and young people aged from year five and above

Grand Union Housing Group     

Outreach work by youth workers at the housing association to engage with young people and give out kit bags containing card games and information around things like knife crime, drugs and exploitation. Funded by a separate grant.

Haleema Ali     

The 22 Seconds To Murder programme was launched in memory of Azaan Kaleem, who was the victim of a 22 second attack which resulted in his death. This creative project combining lots of different elements will aim to raise awareness of knife crime. Funded from a separate grant.

Houghton Regis Town Council  

The programme will use peer education to deliver anti-knife messages around actions, outcomes and consequences. The Youth Council will promote the opportunity for young people to sign up to form a group to undertake a programme of education and awareness including a visit to the Ben Kinsella Exhibition. Funded through a separate grant.

Inspiring People

Working with young people in Bedford to teach them about things like employment skills and running a business, as well as creative skills such as music, TV and radio production

Inspiring People
Inspiring People

Lord’s Taverners

Continue to deliver the charity’s Luton Wicketz programme offering cricket coaching and mentoring for young people aged eight to 19

Luton Community Safety Partnership

Deliver anti-knife crime messages to all key stage three education settings in Luton as well as working with young people to create podcasts about the challenges they face and what might them lead into a life of violence

Luton Irish Forum

Intensive programme with students in alternative education provisions to prevent them getting involved in violence and exploitation. This will include discussions, debates and group tasks about relevant topics to do with serious youth violence

Luton Town FC Community Trust

Work to support high schools in Luton and Bedford and reduce exclusions with a targeted programme using sports competitions and workshops

Luton Urban Radio

Work with young people through workshops, school assemblies and a youth conference event to create a radio show that explores the gap in experiences between young and older people in society today

Luton Urban Radio
Luton Urban Radio

Luton Youth Offending Service

Working alongside social enterprises Att10tive and Directional to deliver training and development programmes for children potentially involved in serious violence and criminal exploitation

Mary Seacole Housing Association

Young people will learn to create radio shows, podcasts and other digital media products as well as carry out broadcast interviews with senior figures in Bedfordshire. Delivered in partnership with Jamrock Media


Its Change the Narrative project will be used to provide media training, mentoring and development to young people in Bedford. The training will incorporate key aspects of media including photography, videography and video editing. The trainees will work together in teams to create video content geared towards changing mindsets and informing young people of the dangers of a life of violence and other opportunities for success outside of crime and violence. Funded through a separate grant

One Stop Advice & Training Centre        

Parenting programme to help mentor parents and carers to put measures in place to manage boundaries, increase confidence and encourage improvement in behaviour, in order to protect their children from serious youth violence and exploitation

One Stop Advice & Training Centre        

Workshop delivered across primary schools to talk about knife crime. Will be using victims of knife crime to speak with the children on the impact to their lives. Funding awarded through a separate grant


This project is working with ethnic minority families, especially from the Somali community, and particularly young people by diverting them away from serious violence, offending and re-offending through sports activities, leisure activities and group workshops. Funding awarded through a separate grant

Reactiv8 The Nation

Will work with excluded children across Bedfordshire to provide mentoring and discipline through programmes such as boxing

Realfit Centre Riseley           

Weekly fitness programme for children aged 13 to 16 to build confidence and relationships

Samsons Academy Charity Bedford

Offering gym-based work experience to young people aged between 16 and 24 who are not in education, employment or training

Shefford Town Council

The project will bring back into use a building that was built and used previously as a changing room for a junior football club. They will use the building for a dedicated Youth Hub. The location lends itself to many creative activities, including sports. However, this space will also be used to facilitate a bike repair project, mentoring young people, employment support and drop in sessions. Funded through a separate grant.

St Giles Trust

St Giles’ SOS+ Project delivers early intervention work in educational and community settings, through preventative sessions on violence, vulnerability and exploitation. They will deliver sessions in schools across Bedfordshire to demystify gang culture, county lines drug running, and educating children and young people about the harsh realities of knife crime, gang violence and child criminal exploitation.

St Hugh’s Church

Grassroots community group originating from St. Hugh’s Church in Leagrave, though the programme is open to all faiths and backgrounds. The project will aim to support parents and concerned members of the community by working with schools, youth charities and other agencies to give local parents a voice

Stepping Stones

Working with young women and girls in Luton affected by gangs and county lines. They will also provide training and support to practitioners on how best to respond to girls affected by these issues

The Flavasum Trust       

‘Boy X’ interactive anti-knife crime theatre production in schools for years eight and nine. The audiences can interact with the play and change the outcome depending on their discussions and decisions

The Safer Luton Partnership

Individual mentoring programme that will work with young people on a one-to-one basis at least once a week

Youth Voices

Weekly informal drop-in sessions for young people in Bedford to discuss issues that matter to them, as well as developing media products such as podcasts

Ten alternative education provisions will produce a creative project with their students with an anti-knife crime theme

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