Funded by Greater Manchester’s Violence Reduction Unit, the primary transitions programme supports young people with the transition from primary to secondary school to mitigate potential risks of involvement in or connection with violence.
The programme (also referred to as Blocks) responds to feedback from primary schools that intergenerational violence and knife carrying are affecting children at a younger age than previously was the case.
The new programme delivers child centred, strengths based, trauma informed one to one support for pupils who face multiple challenges and their families as they transition between years 5, 6 and 7. The programme has been co-designed with young people, parents, and primary school teachers and staff, and includes 10 primary schools from across Manchester.
Blocks provides young people with a positive and trusted space and a dedicated mentor who offers regular time to learn and develop new skills that will help them in their everyday life.
Mentors are based in local school communities providing young people with the opportunity to see their mentor regularly in a session environment and in their daily school routine. Mentors cover subjects including confidence, self-esteem, managing difficult emotions, healthy relationships, coping strategies, and planning for their future.
You can find out more about the programme and its impact by watching this short video.
Kate Green, Deputy Mayor for policing, crime, criminal justice, and fire, said: “The programme is funded by Greater Manchester Violence Reduction Unit and aims to get upstream of issues, working with young people as early as possible to mitigate risk.
“I had the privilege of meeting some of the staff and young people involved in the programme at a primary school earlier this year. Those I spoke to provided an insight into their experiences in schools, at home, and in the community, and the impact the programme has had on them.
“This programme has the power to change a young person’s perspective, behaviour and outlook, smooth their transition to secondary school and improve their relationships.
“We are 12 months in and the impact is already significant. I look forward to seeing what else will be achieved through this programme.”
Phil East, Chief Executive of Salford Foundation, said: “I’m delighted with the support we’ve been able to provide to the young people through the investment from the Violence Reduction Unit.
“Early intervention, to give every child the best possible start in life, is of critical importance.
“The Blocks programme is demonstrating the effectiveness of providing targeted help to younger children, enabling them to develop resilience and positive coping strategies ahead of the challenges that are likely to emerge in their teenage years.”
A young person who has been part of the programme, said: “My sessions with my mentor have helped me understand more about my emotions. I think this is important because it means I can deal with them a lot better and not get into fights.”
Another young person said: “My mentor has given me the confidence to start going to drama club in my local community. I didn’t feel good enough to go before, but now I know what to do to make myself feel confident enough to go.”
A teacher from one of the schools accessing the programme, said: “We have seen a big impact in the young people that have taken part in the Blocks programme. We can see a difference in the school class rooms and we love having the blocks staff member as a part of our school team.”
Blocks runs for the duration of the school academic year, with support continuing into the school holidays including sessions in local communities and access to positive activities to provide opportunities for young people to use the skills they have been taught in the sessions.
Article posted on: 23/10/2023 11:10am