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Thursday, September 23, 1999 Published at 17:31 GMT 18:31 UK

UK: Northern Ireland

Cash plea for joyrider scheme

"Successful" scheme to stop car theft not renewed

Chief probation officer for Northern Ireland Breidge Gadd has called for the government to renew funding for a "highly successful" scheme aimed at reducing joyriding.

She says the year-long Youth at Risk project has achieved record success rates in tackling joyriding and substance abuse in west Belfast.

A total of 28 young people took part in the scheme which cost £200,000 to run.

The project's final report says anti-social behaviour was reduced by more than one-third and joyriding was down by 50%.

[ image: Breidge Gadd:
Breidge Gadd: "Unhappy" with government decision to stop funding
The chief probation officer says she's unhappy that money is not available to continue the work.

"The probation board does not have the funding to repeat this programme in Belfast. It doesn't have the funding to repeat it anywhere.

"But we are so convinced about its potential for success that we really would plead with the government to put resources into a follow-up programme."

Steven Scott, a youth worker on the programme, says the statutory agencies should make a concerted effort to find the money to continue with the project.

"It isn't just a probation board problem. All the statutory agencies are involved. Our young people are the ones who need it. I reckon it should be made available. If it comes from central government that's all the better."

The probation board says researchers at Oxford University have ranked the scheme as more successful than 400 similar projects across the world.

The government has welcomed the positive evaluation of the scheme which shows the Youth at Risk approach "works in appropriate circumstances".

"A further application for funding has been made to Making Belfast Work (MBW). Now that the evaluation has been received MBW will be able to give the application proper consideration," a statement said.

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09 Aug 99 | Northern Ireland
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