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Commissioner’s Youth Fund educates young people from Fenland and Peterborough about county lines

YOUNG people in Fenland and Peterborough are learning about ‘county lines’ through drama thanks to Police and Crime Commissioner, Darryl Preston’s Youth Fund.

County lines is the name given to drug dealing where organised criminal groups recruit and exploit children to distribute drugs from cities into smaller towns and rural areas.

Wisbech-based LEADA Cambs CIC, a non-profit organisation bid into the Commissioner’s Fund to raise awareness with young people about the dangers of county lines. The money, worth £3,400, will explore healthy relationships through improvised drama to help young people spot potential dangers that could lead them into harmful situations. This will encourage them to share their ideas with friends without the fear of being lectured by authority figures.

Darryl said: “My Fund has been set up to support work with young people to divert them away from a life of crime and make positive life choices.

“It is through projects such as these that young people can develop their confidence and skills in a safe environment and at the same time become resilient adults.”

Linda Ekins, Lead Drama tutor of LEADA Cambs CIC, said: “This funding is helping us to educate young people about county lines, challenge perceptions and analyse the motives behind grooming. The workshops allow them to discover pitfalls and investigate safe solutions to prevent them from becoming victims.

“We are already seeing a positive shift in young people’s thinking, and we’re set to work with Fenland schools in September so more young people trust their instincts rather than follow the crowd.”

Voluntary and community organisations based in the county who are working with young people aged between 5 and 18, or up to 25 years old for those with Special Educational Needs or disabilities are invited to bid for up to £3,500.

The funding has been made possible from what is known as ‘proceeds of criminal activity’.

Anyone looking to bid into the fund are advised to visit the Commissioner’s website.