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One of the projects the VVU helps fund is the U-Turn hub based in Clacton. The U-Turn hub is a project that supports young people to improve confidence, address behaviour challenges and improve social and emotional skills.

The hub launched in October 2020 and since then 50 young people aged 11 to 16 – identified as vulnerable or at high risk of offending – have received one-to-one and group mentoring sessions with a youth worker. More than 600 drop-in visits have also been made to the hub.

On offer at the hub is mentoring; education and awareness raising of violent crimes, sexual exploitation, knife crime and County Lines culture; life skills around communication, self-awareness, decision-making, goal setting, relationship, negotiation and anger management; health education and wellbeing, including physical and psychological health and wellbeing and emergency care.

The hub aims to support young people, focusing on the relationship of trust, group involvement, conflict resolution and reducing risk behaviour while encouraging healthy behaviours and promoting positive peer groups to reduce victimisation and offending.

The project also wants to help young people improve their physical and mental health, develop their self-esteem and confidence, reduce barriers to education, improve their social skills and self-awareness and increase their knowledge, capacity and resilience in relation to violent crimes and exploitation.

We are also delighted that in May 2021 the hub was awarded a High Sheriff of Essex Award. The award is presented in recognition of, and in appreciation of, the people of Essex providing activities to enhance the life of the community.

Tania Swanson, U-Turn director said: “We work with a lot of children. If we can help one young person to turn their life around, that is what we are doing it for. That is one more than would have been helped without our work.

“We cannot help where we live or who we live with, but we can choose how we live as a person. There are always going to be challenges we have all got to face, it is finding ways to face those challenges. A bit of support goes a long way.”