THE Princess Royal is to hear first hand accounts of how the lives of young people have been put back on track.
Princess Anne will visit County Hall in Durham tomorrow to find out more about the work of the area’s Youth Offending Service.
Her visit comes as part of her work as a patron of the charity the Butler Trust.
The head of the youth service, Gill Eshelby, was awarded a commendation for her work to divert young people from the criminal justice system by the Trust in March.
The Princess will talk to staff during her tour, which will be led by Mrs Eshelby.
The visit will then move on to HMP Durham which was also awarded a commendation earlier this year for its contribution to the health and wellbeing of offenders.
Mrs Eshelby, who was appointed in her role in 2008 and joined the service 11-years-ago, will guide The Princess Royal on her visit.
She said: “Receiving the commendation from The Princess Royal at Buckingham Palace was an experience I’ll never forget. It highlighted the excellent work that is being done here in County Durham.
“I’m thrilled The Princess Royal is now going to come here and meet some of the staff who are really making a difference.
“From the pre and post court staff who are working right at the frontline to the Management Board – who are thinking strategically about the direction the service will take.”
Ms Eshelby has led the service as it has worked with Durham Constabulary to develop the Pre Reprimand Disposal, a voluntary programme offered to young people who commit their first offence and who would otherwise receive a police reprimand.
It aims to prevent further offences being committed by assessing each young person’s needs and acting on them.
If they fail to engage, they are then returned to the police for a reprimand.
It has resulted in over a 71 per cent reduction in first time entrants to the criminal justice system and a 50 per cent reduction in re-offending.
The Trust recognises outstanding practice in those who work in prisons, probation and youth justice.