Greater Manchester Violence Reduction Unit

Last week, we were joined by Rachel Coffey, Deputy Director Serious Violence Priority Projects Unit, and her team to see Greater Manchester’s Violence Reduction Unit (VRU) in action.

The day started with a visit to Manchester Royal Children’s Hospital to meet with VRU Clinical Lead Dr Rachel Jenner and hospital staff, colleagues from North West Ambulance Service, and the team of Greater Manchester Navigators.
Navigators provide practical support and guidance to young people who are victims of violence. They work closely with young people (aged 10 – 25) to help them cope and recover from their experience of violence and access local support networks to prevent the potential of further violence. Initially rolled out in four hospitals across Greater Manchester, Navigators now receive referrals from NWAS and the community, meaning they can support young people outside of a hospital setting. Success of hospital Navigators in Greater Manchester, sees project expanded – Greater Manchester Violence Reduction Unit (

VRU Clinical Lead, Dr Rachel Jenner said: “Prior to the introduction of the Navigator project, once we had treated a young person medically, we would discharge them without little knowledge of how they would be supported personally once they got home. We now know that young people that leave us have the option of continued support from a Navigator who can help them to access services and opportunities, and hopefully prevent them from visiting hospital again under such circumstances.”

Hannah Barton, Greater Manchester Navigator Project Co-ordinator, said: “Many young people are happy to engage with us right away, but sometimes a young person may initially be reluctant to talk to us. What we say is that the door is always open, even if you don’t want to talk to us now, the option is still there in a few weeks or even months’ time if you change your mind. We do often find that young people will get in touch with us once they have had time to process what has happened to them and are ready to move on.”

After lunch, the team headed to New Bury to meet with Ian Hepplewhite, Head of Targeted Support at Raise the Youth. Founded in 2011, Raise the Youth provides support, opportunities and signposting for young people and families in New Bury. Raise the Youth is part of the Bolton alliance, a group of organisations that work together to improve support and services for young people in Bolton, through the VRU’s Bolton community-led programme.

The team also met coaches, parents, and young people from New Bury Boxing Club. The club offers young people and families a safe, fun, environment to develop confidence and fitness. Many of the parents have now completed training qualifications and help to lead sessions with young people. The VRU was able to support the club by working with Bolton Council to re-open the community centre, now the base for New Bury Boxing Club, and provide funding for boxing equipment.

Local police officers stopped by to discuss their early intervention work with young people and got involved in the training session!

Damian Dallimore, VRU Director, said: “It is so important that we are able to support local organisations like Raise the Youth and New Bury Boxing Club as the work they do to engage young people and families is fantastic. Providing a space for young people to express themselves, meet friends, and feel supported is vitally important in helping to prevent young people becoming involved in violence and building positive futures.”

Article posted on: 07/06/2022 03:06pm

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