You’ll have no doubt heard me talk about my mission to cut crime and make our streets safer, be it anti-social behaviour or ending the scourge of county lines.

While we are going after the perpetrators, and bringing them to justice, we must also focus on prevention. A big part of this is making sure our young people can access good quality education, jobs, and training opportunities.

At the end of 2021, we had 255 18–24-year-olds claiming unemployment benefits in North West Hampshire, that’s a rate of 3.7%. It is lower than both the South East and UK averages, and happily, significantly lower than January 2021, when the figure was 480 (7%).

We can get this down further in 2022 - and one of the ways we are helping young people is through creating local employment hubs, where they can find out what opportunities are available locally, get help with CV writing and interviews, and meet peers in a similar situation. The help is personalised to the individual, and community partners within the hubs can offer support to those living with disabilities and learning difficulties as well as ex-offenders.

I’m pleased to announce we have a recently opened a youth hub here in Andover, at The Lights. It is one of seven hubs across Central and West Hampshire.

If you know of someone who would benefit from their help and mentorship, let them know! Equipping our young people with the right skills and opportunities will help keep them out of trouble and propel them into rewarding careers.