Youth Endowment Fund helps Foundation to tackle youth crime through new prevention programme

Leeds Rhinos Foundation is launching a targeted intervention programme with funding granted by the Youth Endowment Fund to support young people at risk of being drawn into violent crime as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Youth Endowment COVID-19 Resilience Programme will see Leeds Rhinos Foundation work within four Leeds high schools to prevent vulnerable Year 7 students from becoming involved in potentially dangerous and criminal situations.

The 12-week programme begins on Monday, with sessions focusing on a range of important topics such as ambition, mental wellbeing, gangs and knife crime. The aim is to help the young people set and achieve personal goals in order to increase their resilience and raise their aspirations. Pupils will also get the chance to extend their learning beyond the classroom environment and develop key life skills by taking part in outdoor team-building activities led by fully-trained staff from Herd Farm Activity Centre.

After completing the programme, participants will receive further support through six weeks of one-to-one mentoring to ensure they receive the guidance and direction to help them build a more positive future.

Dane Weatherill, Education Officer for Leeds Rhinos Foundation, will lead on this exciting new project. He said: “The COVID-19 pandemic is a unique situation which has created extreme challenges for our young people, the likes of which they have never encountered before.”

“Giving these pupils positive learning experiences and a chance to take time out of the classroom environment to do other educational activities can hopefully spark their interest in education again and help them to reach more positive outcomes.”

“The project will run in Carr Manor Community School, Roundhay School, Co-Op Academy Leeds and Wetherby High School, starting next week. From day one when we approached them with this programme, all four schools have been really accommodating and we’re excited for delivery to begin.

“Hopefully by the end of the programme we will see a noticeable improvement in the young people, whether that’s through improving their behaviour, building their self-confidence or working on a better home life. We’re not expecting massive changes in just 12 weeks, but if we can help them to feel a bit better about themselves and realise the importance of making the right choices, we can hopefully start to make a real difference to these young people at a critical stage of their lives.”

The Youth Endowment Fund is an independent charitable trust set up by the Home Office. It funds, supports and evaluates projects in England and Wales which work to prevent children from being drawn into youth crime or anti-social behaviour.

This summer, Leeds Rhinos Foundation was one of 130 organisations to obtain a share of a £6.5m grant pot from the Youth Endowment Fund, which aimed to support young people who have being impacted by the huge disruption and stress caused by the ongoing COVID-19 health crisis.

For more information about the Youth Endowment COVID-19 Resilience Programme, please email