Greater Manchester Violence Reduction Unit

In 2019, Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) and Greater Manchester Violence Reduction Unit (VRU) undertook a comprehensive programme of engagement with communities, including young people, the voluntary, community and social enterprise (VCSE) sector and people working in communities affected by violence. GMCA and the VRU heard from communities about their concerns and aspirations and agreed that Greater Manchester’s approach to tackling violence should be community-led.

The community-led approach to violence reduction brings together Greater Manchester Police, National Probation Service, health and education professionals, youth justice and local authorities to address the underlying causes of violence and work together with communities to prevent it.

Developing a community-led approach

In March 2021, two alliances made up of VCSE organisations in Bolton and Manchester were awarded funds of £200,000 as part of Greater Manchester’s investment in community-led pilots, which are being rolled out in six boroughs as part of the Serious Violence Action Plan launched last summer.

Michael Phipps and young people from 84YOUTH

Each community-led pilot is tailored to the local community’s needs. For example, in Manchester, the VRU is working closely with 84YOUTH, a youth led organisation that deals with the causes of youth violence, to deliver a peer mentoring scheme for young people in challenging situations. 84YOUTH offers a positive outlet for emotion and builds aspirations through music and projects that support local young people.

Michael Phipps meeting local business owners in Glodwick

Michael Phipps, the VRUs VCSE Sector Strategic Lead, describes how the community-led approach to violence reduction works, “A community-led approach means that the community are involved from start to finish. The process starts with community engagement to find out the strengths, challenges and needs of the community. We get a wide range of views from all community members including those that might be digitally excluded or isolated. This can take the form of resident’s engagement workshops, walk and talks with local residents, youth engagement sessions online and in schools and meeting with parents and local businesses. Key themes are pulled out of the engagement sessions in co-design workshops, to inform the investments that will be made in the community using a multi-agency approach.”

The alliances

To ensure local communities’ benefit, a strong partnership between local services is required. In late 2020, community alliances were formed in Bolton and Manchester. The alliances strengthen relationships and trust between the community and partners from the voluntary and statutory sectors, improve how information is shared and is used to inform decision making, and create opportunities for integrated working.

The Bolton alliance is made up of:

The Manchester alliance is made up of:

StreetGames are a national charity, who have been working in partnership with the Greater Manchester VRU to support the community -led pilots from the development stage, throughout delivery. Through sport, the development of a pro-social identity can be supported for young people, helping to prevent offending and reduce reoffending and to enable young people to make a positive contribution to the community. StreetGames have therefore been identifying and supporting organisations within their network to become involved in the alliances, and to form partnerships that can enhance and develop their offer for young people in order to meet the needs of the local community.

Find out more about the work of the alliance in Manchester in this short video.

Progress is happening

Community-pilots are in place in Manchester and Bolton and are showing great early results. In Manchester, there is an increase in multi-agency partnership work, referrals to targeted support and parents accessing family support, young people and parents directly affected by serious violence in Moss Side are also being supported. In New Bury, Bolton, with support from the police within the VRU and multi-agency partners, progress has been made with improving community confidence in reporting and referring young people into early intervention programs, 25 families are receiving support with a range of issues including antisocial behaviour, domestic abuse, youth violence and spotting the signs of child criminal exploitation from specialist services, and referrals are being made from schools for targeted work around serious youth violence for teenagers.

Thanks to the success of the first two community-led pilots, pilots will be rolled out across other areas of Greater Manchester. In Salford, community engagement and co-design are now complete and local organisations and services are expressing their interest in an alliance. In Oldham, co-design sessions are planned with the community to understand community needs, and in Bury the VRU is beginning engagement work with the local community.

Find out more about the impact of this work in this short video.

Article posted on: 20/08/2021 09:08am

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