We believe that the provision of facilities and activities for young people can help to reduce crime. That is why the Government have supported a number of programmes, such as the Youth Justice Board-managed youth inclusion and summer splash schemes. These provide structured activity programmes not only to occupy young people but to provide a vehicle for working with them to prevent them from drifting into crime or other antisocial activity.
Notwithstanding the need to continue to crack down on those young people who cause problems in our communities, is it not the case that our young people far too often say that they simply have nothing to do, that they cannot find a place just to go and have a cup of coffee and that there is a lack of recreational facilities? Notwithstanding the answer that my hon. Friend the Minister has just given, will she have another look at the facilities available to our young people so that they can get more of those facilities to help them as they grow up?
The evidence from the youth inclusion programme—particularly the summer splash schemes, which have been independently evaluated—shows that these kinds of activities are not only useful but cost-effective. The splash schemes show a 36 per cent. reduction in domestic burglary, and an 18 per cent. reduction in youth crime, on the estates where they took place. They are also important because they enable the police and other workers in the youth justice system to work directly, in a non-confrontational way, with young people, to develop relationships that are important in deterring young people from committing crime. These schemes have been successful and we are going to continue them.
Given that a young man with plenty of purposeful activity and plenty of useful things to do—be they sporting, recreational or educational—is less likely to turn or return to crime, how does the Minister expect young men aged 18 to 21, released from the B wing of Feltham young offenders institution, to lead a good life when, for the past four years under the Labour Government they have been denied all those facilities, having been locked up in their cells for most of the day under a regime described by Her Majesty's inspector of prisons as "utterly disgraceful"?
I do not know how recently or how frequently the hon. Gentleman has visited Feltham. If he has visited it, he will know that the problems there started long before this Government came to office. The problems that we inherited at Feltham were the product of long-term neglect by the Tory Government. If the hon. Gentleman has been there recently, he will have seen that the regime is being transformed, initially for the under-18s, and now for the 18 to 21s—not before time,I grant him, but it is this Government who have done it, not the Tory Government.
Will the Minister join me and the representatives of professional sports clubs whom I met on Friday in recognising that, while there is a need and a great desire to increase the level of participation in sport in this country, one of the problems the clubs have is the number of initiatives placed in front of them? Is it possible for the Home Office to work with others across government to ensure that, rather than professional and amateur sports clubs having to fill in a plethora of application forms to chase pockets of money, a more co-ordinated approach could be taken? Many professional sports clubs offer tens of thousands of opportunities across the east midlands already. They would like to offer more, but need assistance to deliver them.
I take my hon. Friend's point. It is sometimes difficult for sporting and other voluntary organisations to navigate the procedures that we rightly require them to go through when they try to access public money. Through Sport England, we are working directly with an initiative called "positive futures", as well as other bodies, and I hope that that enables the sporting bodies in particular to access the information that they need to make successful bids more easily. That is certainly our intention.