''We are very worried'': Sheffield youth group calls for support to continue vital services

  • By Katharine Walker

A Sheffield youth project is calling for support to keep running vital services to support young people at danger from knife crime in Burngreave.

The 'Big Brother Burngreave' group was set up in 2017, following an increase in violent turf-wars in the area.

The team now run weekly sessions for young people aged from 12 to 20, playing football and basketball. The sessions include workshops discussing mental health, peer pressure, family and career-development.

TJ Siddu, 20, says his life could have gone down a very different path if it wasn't for the support and mentoring of the group. 

He said: ''I was involved with a few gangs and I used to fight quite a lot because of these gangs. I ended up in care, and everything wasn't going well. I would probably be in a prison.''

Face to face services had to stop for four months during lockdown. Credit: ITV News

During lockdown, Big Brother Burngreave couldn't operate face-to-face for four months. They used video calls to keep in touch, but not everyone could be reached online.

Smiley Sam, 28, one of the group's leaders and data collectors, said it affected his mental health.

He said: ''To be honest with you, that one was really tough, because we've got different kids that have got different mindset of how they think.

''Especially for me, there was a time where I was sitting at home and thinking like, I'm bored I've got nothing to do, things are coming closer and closer.''

Under the 'Rule of Six' the boys can now meet up to play sport in small bubbles - but only outside.

However, as the long nights start to draw in, the group founder Safyia Saeed is worried what impact new restrictions could have.

She said: ''We are very very worried, I'm already talking to set up the food parcels for the young people. We've got a lot of young people who are refugees and don't have families here.

''We have to set up help for them on all different levels. We are getting ready, we are putting things out there. But without the support of the authorities or funding, we can't get far.''