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Local young people told it's never too late to turn their lives around

Released: Thursday, 31 January 2019

Two former offenders met with young people at Worthing Town Hall this week and told them them that it was not too late to turn their lives around.

Paul Murdoch and Andrew Brown of Directions Project spoke to the young people as part of efforts to bring down anti-social behaviour, school absenteeism and offending in Adur and Worthing.

Andrew Brown, a former gang member, said:

“I told them they need to understand where the disappointment has been in their lives. Once they've done that, they should find someone to confide in, someone they can trust to get the support they need, otherwise the disappointment can lead to violence, anger and hatred.”

Directions Projects was founded by Paul Murdoch to work with children and young people across the country on crime prevention, intervention and rehabilitation.

Murdoch, who spent 14 years in prison for drug and firearms offences, said:

“Sometimes there is a light bulb moment in a young person's life and sometimes there isn't. After being in prison, for me it was when I thought about what I had lost and what I had gained. I had lost personal things like my wife and children, and I'd gained nothing.”

The day was organised by Adur & Worthing Councils in conjunction with Adur and Worthing Police Prevention Team.

The Councils' Safer Communities Team works with partners to look at the risks facing young people, including becoming involved in criminality. The partnership is currently developing a programme which will provide young people with alternatives, including hearing from former offenders. Those who attended the Directions session had either been involved with the criminal justice system or are at risk of becoming involved in harmful behaviour.

Sophie Whitehouse, Lead for Early Help and Wellbeing in the Communities and Wellbeing Team, part of which is co-located at Worthing Police Station, said:

“Young people were referred by teachers, police and support workers from across Adur and Worthing and, given the success of this session, we hoped that the intervention will continue to form part of that programme.”

Photo: Some of the project workers and police that came to talk to the former offenders and young people: (left to right) Paul Murdoch, Directions Project; PC Sharon Eppy; Rachel Cave, Adur & Worthing Antisocial Behaviour Caseworker; Sarah Pocklington, Directions Project; Andrew Brown, Directions Project; and PC Robert Luff

PR19-022 - Some of the project workers and police that came to talk to the former offenders and young people

(PR19-022)

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