VERU drives forward solutions for young people by giving them a voice on poverty and inequality

Young people were placed at the heart of two activities backed by the Bedfordshire Violence and Exploitation Reduction Unit (VERU) this weekend. 

We worked with both local and national partners to give young people a voice around tackling poverty and inequality, as well as coordinating two Bedfordshire teams to attend a national football tournament.

On Saturday (24 July) we attended the latest project by the Hope Collective, a campaign shining a light on the positive contributions of young people.

The project is supported by the likes of the Damilola Taylor Trust, Rio Ferdinand Foundation and UK Youth.

Saturday’s event saw young people have their say on poverty and inequality, as well as coming up with potential solutions. Future events are due to consider other topics that affect young people. 

Images from the Hope Collective event
Images from the Hope Collective event

We were there alongside two other violence reduction units (VRUs) from across the country, as well as youth crime charity Fearless and whole host of other organisations working to improve the prospects of young people.

Then on Sunday (25 July), we joined two football teams from Bedfordshire at the Kick Off At 3 football tournament in south London.

The VERU’s Kimberley Lamb and Dee Bailey, planning group chair and project lead respectively, worked alongside the likes of Active Luton, Boxing Saves Lives, Bedfordshire Police and the Luton Town Football Club Community Trust to send teams from Luton All Star Lionesses and Inspire Athletic FC.

Kick Off At 3 is a project initially created to build bridges between the police and young people, with teams from as far away as Cardiff and Plymouth attending Sunday’s event.

Kimberley Lamb, head of the VERU, said: “It is young people who know best about what will help young people stay safe and thrive.

“We are committed to putting the voice of young people at the heart of all of our activities, giving them a voice and helping show them a brighter path.

“Since the VERU was created we have worked with thousands of young people through direct support, inputs at schools and funding community projects, as well as specific work such as our VERU Youth Voices podcasts and road of freedom mural.

“We want to be that genuine and authentic voice for our communities to ensure everyone truly buys into the mission to stop violence and exploitation happening here in Bedfordshire.”

Luton All Star Lionesses team photo. They were one of two Bedfordshire teams to attend the Kick Off At 3 football tournament
Inspire Athletic team photo. They were one of two Bedfordshire teams to attend the Kick Off At 3 football tournament
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