A project supporting youngsters has been given a government grant to run an anti-radicalisation programme in Lancashire.
Victim Support’s youth programme, You & Co, has been awarded a share of more than £2m by the Department for Education, to run an 18-month project to tackle radicalisation.
Bosses say certain communities across the county are “risk hotspots” for extremist activity, with work ongoing to establish the most appropriate areas in Lancashire to deliver the scheme.
The programme has been given £267,000, and is one of nine safeguarding schemes nationwide to be given funding.
Amanda Naylor, head of children and young people at Victim Support, said: “Lancashire Counter Terrorism Locality Profile has identified a number of communities that are risk hotspots for radicalisation and extremist activity, leaving young people vulnerable to recruitment into extremists groups.
“We know that extremists from all groups target the most vulnerable and often the most vulnerable are children and young people, therefore we must give them the skills to be able to desist this kind of grooming and ask for help.”
She said the radicalisation of children was a “safeguarding issue”, and said: “The same children who are vulnerable to grooming for sexual exploitation are also vulnerable to grooming by extremist groups.”
Working with others including community group SLYNCS and the University of Central Lancashire, You & Co aims to put young people’s experiences “at the forefront of the Prevent agenda”, by creating materials with children and young people.
The project will identify specific techniques used to radicalise young people from different communities, and inform prevention and support strategies.
Amanda Naylor said: “Victim Support is delighted to have received funding from the Department for Education to support our work with vulnerable young people in Lancashire.
“The project will work alongside young people, putting their voices and experiences at the forefront, helping us to develop education packs that are relevant for school children of all backgrounds.”