Our National Lottery’s Community Funded project has already made a great impact within East Lancashire.

‘Break the Cycle’ supports children & young people who are released from Police custody or have had to be spoken to by the Police. We engage with those that have not received any prosecution or sanction (No further action- NFA) from the Police but have been highlighted as being at risk of committing further crime or anti-social behaviour.

Elliot (pictured right) works for the Thomas Centre; an outstanding holiday park, for those who are affected by autism, epilepsy and other special needs. Providing holidays for families and groups, on a dedicated 25 acre site in a safe & non judgemental environment.

Elliot showed his support for our project and spoke with one of our young people, a 14-year-old boy, who identified as vulnerable to being exploited by those engaged in County Lines.

County lines is a form of criminal exploitation where urban gangs persuade, coerce or force children and young people to store drugs and money and/or transport them to suburban areas, market towns and coastal towns. It can happen in any part of the UK and is against the law and a form of child abuse.

R* had started to display signs and behaviour such as being missing from home, socialising and being influenced by older peers and starting to commit low level theft.

CANW started helping R* with his emotional well-being, which uncovered a number of  Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE’s). R* was separated from his parents at an early age, with his father having spent a significant amount of his life in prison. R* was also missing a lot of school and coincidently falling behind with his school work.

From experience we know children and young people respond well to people with lived experience talking to them about their journey in life, the obstacles they faced and overcame along the way.

Elliot talked about his life as a child, growing up and the difficulties he faced. With the aim to try and help R*, and other children like R*, learn from his mistakes. He spoke about how he was involved in: crime, drugs and ended up being in prison himself before turning his life around.

Elliott now works for the Thomas Centre rehabilitation unit and goes into schools and prisons to steer others away from the path he took, by talking about his lived experience’s.

To learn more about our Youth Engagement programme, or how you can get involved, contact Manager, Carl: CSimms@canw.org.uk

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