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On our travels around Essex to see the projects the VVU helps fund, we visited UTurn in Tendring.

UTurn offers support and practical help for young people aged 10 – 18 years old who may be experiencing personal and socially challenging life situations as consequences of violent crime.  The project integrates sport and physical activity with mentoring. The purpose of the project is to reduce offending, victimisation and reoffending behaviour.

With a Hub based in Clacton Coastal Academy, UTurn supports young people struggling with issues such as school attendance, making positive life choices and difficult family circumstances by providing one to one mentoring, group support sessions and informal drop-in sessions.

The team currently work with 72 young people in Tendring providing them with a safe place to talk and work through their problems. They also support with activities such as boxing, martial arts and gymnastics.

The team also offer alternative provision to young people at risk of exclusion. They also offer First Aid qualifications, and are now an accredited centre for ASDAN qualifications.

On our visit we got an understanding of how much the team love their work. The staff go that extra mile to support the young people who attend – be this by spotting a passion and nurturing this, supporting them to gain apprenticeships, taking them to after school clubs, or ensuring holiday clubs are filled with fun and new activities.

The success of UTurn has led to enquiries on how this model could be replicated further in the county.