Just fewer than one hundred people, young and old, attended the last Area Panel meeting in November. The theme of the meeting was the implications of the recent tragic death of Jonathan Matondo, and how the major local agencies are going to change, or intensify, their services in response. Six leading staff from Sheffield Futures, the Police, Youth Offending, Children/Young People’s Service, Activity Sheffield and the city’s Safer Communities Partnership attended. They all reflected on what Jonathan’s death meant for their responsibilities, and what they planned to do in the future.
Over forty questions were asked, and mostly answered. The councillors drew a number of conclusions, including the need for:
An increase in provision for young people in the area.
Strict monitoring of pupil exclusions, including provision of support for excluded pupils and their parents.
More joint working and collaboration between Activity Sheffield and Sheffield Futures and other youth providers.
Building on the work that Streetworx were undertaking in the area.
Counteracting the adverse publicity following this and other incidents in the area, by highlighting the positive things young people were doing in Burngreave.
Improvements to play facilities for young people in the area.
An increase in Police presence in the area, particularly the PCSOs.
Ronny Tucker (from the Youth Offending Service) explained that they were now determined to stem any gang formation, which some other cities are experiencing. This means having determination and an ability to work in schools and on the streets, with gang members and those on the fringes to hold out the hope that some young people might have lost.
Lastly, the Panel wanted to know how things look in three months time. The 19th March meeting of the Panel, 6.30pm at the Vestry Hall, agendices will report back on what’s happened since last November.