DELEGATES at a Chester conference have focused on young people and respect.
The RESPECT conference, at the University of Chester, centred on the work of an initiative in changing the lives of youngsters with behavioural issues.
The RESPECT (Reducing Exclusion Starting Positive Engagement with Children Together) programme has been running since September 2006 with experts at the university studying its effectiveness.
Led by Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service, the programme has run in conjunction with key partners including The Youth Federation, Cheshire Police, Cheshire County Council, Connexions, Halton Borough Council, Warrington Borough Council and Youth Offending Teams. The challenge was to focus on prevention and early intervention, to limit social exclusion, school exclusions and absences, youth nuisance and anti-social behaviour.
The university’s research found that one of the project’s many benefits has been an improvement in the youngsters’ self-esteem and confidence.
Professor Miranda Thurston, director of the university’s Centre for Public Health Research, said: “The main purpose of the conference was to provide some of the key findings from the evaluation so that others can learn about the RESPECT Programme and how it has engaged those young people who are at most risk of social exclusion.
“The programme has been successful in engaging young people in constructive and challenging activities through the development of positive relationships with adults and by providing them with opportunities for them to achieve.”
The chairman of Cheshire Fire Authority, Cllr Tony Hooton, said: “Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service has been delighted to be the lead organisation on the RESPECT Programme for the last three years. In that time we have had tremendous results, in achieving the programme’s aims of reducing the number of permanent and fixed term exclusions from school.”