By working with communities and collaborating with residents, we can develop programmes and initiatives that best fit local needs.
The 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 investment in community-led programmes, outlined in Greater Manchester’s Serious Violence Action Plan.
All ten districts of GM are now fully engaged in the programme. The VRU have recruited Violence Reduction Alliance Facilitators in each local authority area that will support with community engagement, co-production and sustainability aspects of the programme. To date, over 1,700 young people aged 24 and under have been reached by the programmes.
Read about some of the organisations involved in the community-led programmes:
Community Safety Partnerships
Greater Manchester has 10 Community Safety Partnerships (CSPs), representing the 10 local authority areas. Membership of each CSP include representation from the police, fire, probation and youth justice services and they work closely with communities to consider local priorities and reduce offending, reduce victimisation and improve support services for anyone impacted by violence.
The VRU allocates approximately a third of its overall budget to the CSPs each year. In 2022-23, this funding supported over 60 initiatives across Greater Manchester with over
10,000 young people involved in universal activity across groups/schools/colleges, over 1,000 longer term bespoke interventions with individuals, and in some cases, their wider families, 18 specialist posts (mentors/mental health/therapists/youth workers) and 10 dedicated Violence Reduction Facilitator posts.
The VRU have continued to invest in evidence-based community sport and have continued to influence other funding streams to align to our approach across Greater Manchester.
1,129 young people (under 25) took part in community sport in 22-23, through the work the VRU and Greater Sport have commissioned with StreetGames and other providers.
StreetGames have also created a new community sports strategic analysis tool that will give partners better information on what the needs of local people are, and how to meet these needs whilst strengthening the evidence base. The tool can be found here.
The Greater Manchester Youth Navigator Service is entering its third year – and has gone from strength to strength.
Established in May 2021 for a 12 month pilot period and with just five Navigators servicing four major trauma hospitals, the service is now commissioned until March 2025, with 12 Navigators, including education, domestic violence and community development specialists. The team of Navigators can now accept referrals from other settings and organisations within the community in addition to self-referrals. Since the start of the service there have been over 800 referrals, with over 250 hospital referrals and 150 community referrals in the last 12 months.
To make a community or self-referral, visit Navigator – Oasis Hub Oldham.
The VRU aims to empower young people in Greater Manchester to see that they are greater than violence.
In October 2022, the VRU hosted Greater Manchester’s Hope Hack event in partnership with the Hope Collective, to provide young people with an opportunity to share their views, thoughts and ideas on how to make the city-region a safer and fairer place for all. Over 100 young people from schools, pupil referral units, and youth organisations, joined a series of workshops covering topics like education, social media and mental and physical health.
The Social Switch project is now live in 20 schools to support over 4000 pupils in online safety interventions. Read more about the Social Switch project here.
I am Greater
Launched in May 2021, the ‘I am Greater’ campaign encourages young people to be greater than violence by thinking about their hopes and aspirations for the future.
The campaign aims to contribute to a reduction in offending behaviour by: increasing social unacceptability towards violence, decreasing perception of violence and promoting positive alternatives to violence.
Young people shared their stories in a series of powerful videos, including individuals who have personally experienced the impact of serious violence.
Dignifi was set up to raise awareness about how emotional and developmental trauma impacts upon people’s emotions and behaviours – with a focus on supporting frontline practitioners to better understand and respond to young people in the care system and people in the criminal justice system.
Two programmes of work were delivered in 2022 – 2023.
Care Leavers programme: a specialist support service for care leavers moving from Youth Justice to adult services to reduce the likelihood of offending (in particular, becoming involved with violence) at a critical transition point.
We have worked to provide 17 care leavers with specialist support across GM this year through this programme of support.
Positive Relationships Training: a bespoke training programme to raise practitioners’ (for example Youth Justice Workers or Probation Officers) awareness and use intervention skills to reduce the risk of violence in young people/adults who have witnessed domestic violence.
We have been able to offer 250 training places to Youth Justice Services and a further 90 places were offered to the Probation service.
School Engagement Officers
School Engagement officers (SEOs) have been an important part of the Greater Manchester wide strategy and Greater Manchester Police’s violence reduction framework since May 2021, and continue to be part of the wider neighbourhood policing offer across each district in Greater Manchester.
The 21 dedicated full-time SEOs have undertaken enhanced training in Trauma Informed Practice, safeguarding and exploitation as well as learning from inputs from the Commission for Racial Equality. This enhanced trauma training allows the SEOs to make any decisions with the young person at the heart of every interaction.
Operation Venture is a team of dedicated officers established to patrol areas of Greater Manchester that are suffering from violence. The team consists of ten constables and is led by an Inspector and two Sergeants.
The team was established in December 2022 and have achieved: