On Monday 10th July, the Mayor and Deputy Mayor of Greater Manchester visited the Violence Reduction Unit’s (VRU’s) community-led programme in Manchester to hear about the positive impact it is having in preventing young people becoming involved in serious violence and other crimes.
Since the programme began, 267 young people have received targeted support and mentoring to improve engagement with education, relationships with parents and family members, and mental health.
Set up in March 2021, the community-led programme focuses on mentoring and providing positive role models for young people at risk or vulnerable to serious youth violence and criminal exploitation, community conversations leading to positive change in communities, music and sports to engage young people in positive activity, and support for parents.
A community-led approach to violence reduction, means the VRU works closely with communities to understand the strengths, challenges, and needs of the community and determine how local investments will be made. Several boroughs across the city-region have received funding from the VRU as part of its £1.6 million investment in community-led programmes, outlined in Greater Manchester’s Serious Violence Action Plan.
A new community film which showcases an inspirational young person from Manchester was also premiered. You can watch the film here: (336) Manchester Community Spotlight: Safia’s Story – YouTube
During the visit, Andy Burnham, Mayor of Greater Manchester, said: “We know that working with communities to provide opportunities for young people to engage in positive activity is the most effective way to ensure young people do not get involved with crime or violence.
“We’re committed to doing all we can to stop violence and crime on our streets across Greater Manchester, and programmes led by the community, like this one in Manchester, are delivering fantastic results.
“The organisations I have met that are working with the Violence Reduction Unit to deliver the work are passionate, effective, and certainly well respected in their community. I would like to thank all of them for the work they are doing to keep our young people safe and make our communities more prosperous.”
Kate Green, Deputy Mayor for policing, crime, criminal justice, and fire, said: “The strength of our approach to reducing violence relies heavily on multiple partners who each use their expertise to provide positive interventions and opportunities for young people and their families.
“Obviously enforcement is important when people commit a crime, but we know that to prevent young people from engaging with crime and violence, programmes that are led by communities are effective ways of supporting young people to choose a more positive path, which in turn benefits the whole community.”
Safia Omar, Youth Worker at Hideaway Youth Centre and star of the Manchester community film, said: “I started attending Hideaway as a child and gained so much in terms of confidence, understanding and ambitions for the future. After obtaining my degree in Education Studies, I came back to Hideaway as a youth worker because I think that providing young people with a space to express themselves is so important for their development.
“Hideaway is vital for the community because if offers a safe space for young people and I am proud to work with the alliance to improve their futures.”
In March 2021, several place-based organisations in Manchester were awarded funding from the VRU and formed an alliance. 84YOUTH provide mentoring and youth projects for young people at risk of youth violence, Hideaway Youth Centre and Families Against Violence provide support and positive activities for young people and their families, OddArts run theatre style workshops to encourage community conversations on serious youth violence and knife crime, and the Rio Ferdinand Foundation focus on using sport to engage young people in positive activity.
The VRU’s community-led programmes are delivered with the support of 10GM – a joint venture to support the voluntary, community and social enterprise sector in Greater Manchester.
To find out more about the work of the VRU’s community-led approach to violence reduction, visit Community-Led Approach to Violence Reduction – Greater Manchester Violence Reduction Unit (gmvru.co.uk) and follow @gm_vru on Twitter and Instagram.
Article posted on: 11/07/2023 01:07pm