A PIONEERING programme is aiming to keep teenagers from a life of crime.

The project run by Child Action North West aims to rescue high-risk youngsters from bad choices.

The scheme invited partners and dignitaries to find out more about their Triage and Reparation’ programme, which keeps 94 per cent of teenagers from reoffending.

Youngsters who commit low level offences and disorder are put through ‘triage’ and encouraged to make amends. Teenagers are then given the chance to learn employment and life skills and contribute to community schemes.

At a showcase teenagers and volunteers from schemes across Lancashire, including ones in Burnley, Blackburn, and Darwen, showed off their success.

Faith Marriott at Child Action North West said the project with Blackburn with Darwen Council and Lancashire Police was working well.

She said: “When a young person is dealt with for a criminal offence, however minor, the consequences stay with them. However triage is a rapid intervention which addresses any risks around the young person.

“It introduces them to the consequences of committing a crime and the impact on victims.

“Community Reparation is also a way young people can make amends to the community or the victim. This encourages the young person to reintegrate, take pride in their local community, restore confidence and develop new skills.”

Community projects that young people have worked on include Burnley’s urban farm project in March Street, and improving the grounds at Darwen Cemetery and St James Church, Blackburn.

Young people associated with the schemes, some of whom have been through the courts and others who are at risk of getting into trouble, have put in 1,000 hours over 12 months on various projects.

Those who take part receive a nationally accredited qualification from the charity ASDAN. Teenagers can specialise in academic subjects, sports courses, workplace training and volunteering work.

The team were recently nominated by the Howard League for Penal Reform in recognition of their success reducing the rate of young people reoffending.

Councillor Frank Connor, who oversees childrens services at the council, said: “We want all our children to live healthy, happy lives so we tackle any problems early on.”