More funding awarded to help young people address risky behaviour

KCA has been awarded additional funding to provide risk reduction work with young people in Kent.

The RisKit Project is an early intervention programme for young people aged 14 to 16 who are vulnerable to risk taking behaviour. These risks can include drug and alcohol use, early and unprotected sex and offending.

The additional funding has been allocated by Kent County Council due to the project’s evidence based outcomes to date and will enable the dedicated programme to be delivered to a larger number of secondary schools in Kent over the next eighteen months.

RisKit was developed by KCA Young Persons’ Service and the University of Kent. Young people were heavily involved in developing the structure and design of the programme.

The programme is delivered by specialist practitioners from KCA’s Young Persons’ Service who work with a range of other specialist agencies including school support, Kent Youth Service and Sexual Health Services, to ensure the programme meets young people’s individual needs. It looks at developing the young persons’ life skills and includes both group and one to one sessions. The practitioners work with the young people to help them identify their risks; reduce their risky behaviour; look at dealing with anger, emotions and developing communications techniques.

So far, more than 400 young people have taken part in the programme and good outcomes have been evidenced as quantitative evaluation has shown significant reductions in their alcohol use and a reduction in their use of illicit drugs (as measured by percentage days abstinent and drinks per drinking day) from the start of the programme and up to three months after.

In recent analysis produced by the university, the school’s staff were reported to be very positive about RisKit and commented on the high level skills of the KCA practitioners and how keen young people (many of whom were difficult to engage in school activities) were to take part in the RisKit sessions.

Feedback from young people who have taken part includes: “I used to go out drinking all the time. I knew it was risky but I didn’t really care before. Now I’ve decided I don’t want to keep doing this,” and “I’ve always found it hard to talk about personal things and it was hard at times. It was definitely worth it though ‘cos I feel it’s really helped me.”

Steve Butler, Operations Manager for Young Persons’ Services, said: “This increased funding gives us the opportunity to expand the delivery of our successful RisKit project to many more schools in Kent.  As the project is already demonstrating really good outcomes for young people who are vulnerable to risk taking behaviour, the additional funding will benefit many more.”

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