A council worker whose commitment to the Wallsend and Howden area has seen anti-social behaviour drop by a third has been honoured by Northumbria Police.
North Tyneside Council’s Richie Mitchell was recognised in the Northern Area Command Awards last month.
Richie serves as the council’s Community and Public Space Protection Manager and was awarded the Partnership Working Award in honour of his work on Project Vita.
Project Vita, a joint initiative between the police and council, launched in early 2020 with the aim of steering youth away from trouble and offering them confidence-boosting opportunities.
A key focus for the programme is to engage with young people gathering in large numbers and perceived as “intimidating,” building a dialogue with youths to find out what they would like to see provided for young people in the area.
The engagements, which also ask what the group is doing and why they are there, have been able to identify vulnerable young people and offer them support and advice.
Project Vita had received generous funding from Police and Crime Commissioner Kim McGuinness, totalling £130,000 in backing.
Inspector Tom Hart, who was behind Richie’s nomination, said: “Richie was the driving force behind Project Vita. His commitment to the initiative was staggeringly impressive.
“Vita has seen disorder in Wallsend and Howden decrease by a third and the project has been highlighted by Government as a best practice approach and been nominated for awards.
“Richie’s commitment to North Tyneside was definitely something I felt needed to be formally recognised and I am delighted he has been the recipient of this award.
“We’re stronger when we work together and our work with North Tyneside Council is living proof of that.”
Paul Hanson, Chief Executive of North Tyneside Council, said: “I want to say a massive thank-you and congratulations to Richie Mitchell and our Community Protection Team for picking up the award and runners-up prize at the Northern Policing Awards.
“We know that being safe and secure is a big priority for our residents, councillors and colleagues - and the work the team does, working closely with our Police colleagues, is essential in helping to prevent and tackle anti-social behaviour.
“I couldn’t be prouder of the work they do, they’re an absolute credit to the borough.”