Last month, Detective Inspector Roger Edwards from the Violence Reduction Unit (VRU) and Sergeant Robert Froggart from the Tameside District, joined youngsters from Manchester United Foundation’s Street Reds project for an anti-knife crime workshop and ‘Youth Voice’ event at Old Trafford to mark ‘International Youth Day’.
Street Reds, which is adapted from Premier League Kicks and is part-funded by the Premier League Charitable Fund, runs 48-weeks of the year, and takes place at over 10 sites across Greater Manchester. The project offers free football sessions and alternative activities, with the opportunity to learn new skills and gain qualifications in a supportive and positive environment. It also uses the power of football to give young people an opportunity to pursue their interest in playing, leading, and coaching the game.
Thirty young people, aged between 11 and 16, took part in the workshop – delivered by SOLVE – which focused on the impact of knife crime and encouraging positive choices. As part of the event, the group heard impactful real-life stories that focused on the importance of positive actions and choices.
Following the workshop, five youth voice representatives from across Greater Manchester, stayed behind and took part in a panel discussion with D.I Edwards, Sergeant Froggatt, Michael Phipps the VRU’s Community Lead, Salford Councillor Teresa Pepper, Manchester United Foundation CEO John Shiels MBE and Premier League Charitable Fund Representative, Martin Ingham-Griffiths.
Participants were encouraged to ask and answer questions around community and societal issues, and topics that mattered to them most. This led to open and honest discussions on the key issues that young people face within their communities, the impact of positive opportunities such as Street Reds and the communities’ perceptions of the police.
D.I Roger Edwards. said: “It is important that we listen to young people to find out what is really going on in our communities, how they get caught up in dangerous situations and understand how we can help them.
“The aim of the workshop was to challenge some of the common assumptions around knife crime and to encourage young people to think about the decisions they make. There is a lot to discuss when it comes to the issue, and it can be hard to break down barriers to get the messages around knife crime and violence across. However, this type of environment and event is a great way to do this as it captures people’s interest and opens conversations.
“It is fantastic that young people were given the opportunity to ask the questions which are important to them and raise any concerns that they may have. This should help give them the confidence to speak up and talk to a trusted adult when they feel something isn’t right.
“It is vital that we attended these types of community events and have a positive presence, as they give young people a platform to engage and open up to us, which helps break down barriers and gives us the opportunity to build a positive relationship.”
To find out more, visit Manchester United Foundation – Engage. Inspire. Unite. (mufoundation.org)
Article posted on: 26/09/2022 10:09am