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Cash windfall saves youth workers' jobs; FUNDING FOUND AFTER EVENING TELEGRAPH CAMPAIGN.

Byline: Ben Griffin Crime Reporter

A CASH windfall means a closure-threatened project which has helped cut crime in Coventry will continue.

The money will pay for three youth workers in Stoke Aldermoor, Willenhall and the "four closes" estate in Ernesford Grange to carry on with their crime-busting work for the next nine months.

It was feared the youth outreach workers project would fold when funding ran out this year, and bosses had told the Evening Telegraph it would leave a "massive void" on the estates.

The plight of the outreach workers was highlighted after Coventry City Council approved funding to continue the neighbourhood warden scheme in the estates in February, following an Evening Telegraph campaign.

Now funding has been found in the Single Regeneration Budget and the Children's Fund for the youth workers.

Cllr Tony Skipper, city Council cabinet member for area co-ordination, said: "This is great news for the community. Our figures for the area shows that since May 2003, there has been an overall reduction in reported crime."

So far, 346 young people, aged between eight and 25, have been involved in 17 initiatives run by the outreach team.

In the past year, they have taken groups rock climbing and abseiling, organised entertainment evenings and developed young people's skills in music and dance workshops.

The news comes after the appointment of Richard Walters as the council's neighbourhood warden manager.

He will streamline the Longford, Canley and South East Coventry warden schemes into a single service managed by the city council from next April.

Cllr Colleen Fletcher said: "The feedback we got from local residents where the wardens were operating was overwhelming.

"Over the last two years, Coventry has seen significant reductions in crime, although it seems the fear of crime has not followed this trend. Wardens are helping us in addressing the fear of crime issues and contributing to the overall community safety agenda in the city."

ben.griffin@mrn.co.uk

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'GREAT NEWS': Cllr Tony Skipper
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Publication:Coventry Evening Telegraph (England)
Date:Apr 29, 2004
Words:331
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