Jordan Conway receives her award from Chief Inspector Alex Langley
Jordan Conway receives her award from Chief Inspector Alex Langley

Award for youth justice worker who helped teenager realise potential

16 December 2022

A youth justice officer has received a commendation from North Yorkshire Police for work which steered a young person away from offending to make a huge contribution to their local community.

North Yorkshire County Council’s Youth Justice Officer, Jordan Conway, has been presented with the Chief Constable’s commendation for inspiration, in recognition of her work with a young person, which resulted in him being diverted away from the criminal justice system.

She began working with the teenager from North Yorkshire about a year ago, as he was regularly becoming involved in anti-social behaviour in his community and became known to police.

The county council’s youth justice work usually involves engaging young people in activities and interests which keep them safe and divert them from more dangerous behaviour or criminal activities, as well as providing support with emotional or mental health issues or trauma. Much of the work is restorative and involves the young person giving back to their community.

Miss Conway put him forward for voluntary work in his local community and he began working with volunteers on a charity appeal, collating and packaging items for refugees.

The teenager soon began to start work on the appeal early in the morning, often working late into the evening. He then decided he could extend the support offered and built and translated a website for refugees in the local area, containing information and advice on how to access support and day-to-day essential items and services in their local community.

The mother of the teenager said: “I don’t know how I would have got through the past months without Jordan around. She would ring us even if she wasn’t working to check I was okay and ask how I was feeling. She was the light at the end of the tunnel, dragging me through it all.

“She had an amazing connection with my son, she knew how to talk to him, she would see how he was doing and stick with him.

“She has been a massive help to him. I can’t thank her enough for it.”

The teenager is still working on his voluntary projects and the website and hopes eventually to pursue a career in website design.

Miss Conway said: “You have to build a relationship with a young person to get them to a point where they feel confident and able. That is not always easy. You have to stick with them. Sometimes that involved me sitting outside the door, or the house, but still not giving up on him.

“It took me a long time to get to this point, nothing I did appeared to be working. Then one day he wrote an essay at his new school about someone he admired and it was about me. I had a lump in my throat when I read it.

“I was so relieved he was safe and happy and moving along. There were some really frightening times for this child and we thought the worst was going to happen.

“I’m so proud of where this young person is now. He’s happy and healthy and moving in a very positive direction.”

North Yorkshire’s youth justice service is made up of expert staff with a range of different skills, professions and agencies, supported by skilled and committed volunteers.

Jordan Conway’s supervisor, Amelia Walters, said: “Building relationships with our young people is key. Sometimes in this work, young people don’t recognise the support at the time and you may not see changes straight away, but you are planting the seeds for a more positive future.

“Offending in young people is often a symptom of something else. Linking them back to their community is important and the benefits of this, alongside the support from Jordan, are really clear to see with this young person.”

North Yorkshire County Council’s executive member for inclusion, Cllr Janet Sanderson said: “I had the privilege of meeting Jordan and the young person recently and hearing their inspirational story. They demonstrated resilience, positivity and strength and I would like to congratulate both of them.”

Miss Conway was nominated for the award by North Yorkshire Police and received her commendation from Chief Inspector Alex Langley, from the County Command, at the police headquarters in Northallerton.

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