Greater Manchester Violence Reduction Unit

On Friday 20th October, the Deputy Mayor of Greater Manchester visited the Violence Reduction Unit’s (VRU’s) community-led programme in Bury to hear about the positive impact it is having in preventing young people becoming involved in serious violence and other crimes.

The programme in Bury works with young people aged between 10 and 25, and their families, to develop projects and activities to address the underlying causes of violence and build aspirations and opportunities.

Set up in September 2022, the programme delivers projects that provide mentoring programmes and positive role models for young people and families at risk or vulnerable to serious youth violence and criminal exploitation, youth work activities that will reach and cater for different communities, schools-based interventions to support those at risk of exclusion, and community sports-based interventions.

A 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 already received funding from the VRU as part of its £1.6 million investment in community-led programmes, outlined in Greater Manchester’s Serious Violence Action Plan. An additional £1 million investment in community-led programmes was announced in September 2023, to be split evenly between each borough.

A new community film which showcases the impact of support provided to a mother through the programme in Bury was also premiered at the visit. You can watch the film here: (41) Bury Community Spotlight: Jackie’s Story – YouTube.

Kate Green, Deputy Mayor for policing, crime, criminal justice, and fire, said: “We know that providing positive alternatives for young people is vital if we are to reduce violence. The alliance in Bury works to provide exactly that, as well as offering support for parents and families.

“The mentoring offer in Bury is particularly strong because of the partners’ ability to identity young people who would benefit from a mentor and cross refer them for support.

“I am really pleased to see the positive impact that the programme is having in Bury and look forward to seeing how it continues to grow and strengthen.”

Councillor Lucy Smith, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Children and Young People, Bury Council, said: “Providing our young people with positive influences, confidence building activities and safe spaces all make huge steps in reducing violence and preventing our young people becoming involved in crime.

“We can see the great work from this programme is already having a long lasting and positive effect on our young people, improving their lives and the lives of their families, as well as the community as a whole.

“I look forward to seeing the future successes of this programme as mentors continue their great work with Bury’s young people.”

Michelle Gleeson, Safeguarding Lead at 1Message, said: “Through the Bury alliance we have been able to provide mentoring support to young people who are particularly in need of support. One young person previously on bail for an incident involving a knife and car theft, with lack of engagement with services and no clear path after leaving school, has been supported by 1Message to understand the risk of exploitation, building relationships, and post 16 choices.

“The young person was encouraged by his mentor to gain experience in a restaurant or kitchen as cooking is his passion.

“With support, the young person now has an improved relationship with his mum, has secured a job in a restaurant and has no further arrests.”

Jackie, supported by Early Break, and star of the Bury community-led film, said: “The support from Early Break has been phenomenal, I wish they had come into our lives earlier than they did.

“The support and advocacy for my son and the support I have received from Julie has been amazing, she has helped with so much especially rebuilding our relationship.

“More support like this is needed in the community, there are lots of families within the area like us and I have shared my experience of the service we received. I hope the film proves to be a positive experience and supports continued funding.”

In September 2022, four place-based organisations in Bury were awarded funding from the VRU and formed an alliance. 1Message offers mentoring services for young people who are at risk of or engaged in anti-social criminal activity. Bury Defence Academy is a grassroots not for profit martial arts and boxing club, ran by the community for the community. They work with partner organisations to divert people away from crime, improve health and wellbeing and enhance community cohesion. Friends of Hazlewood work in the local community to take part and initiate fundraising activities in school and around the community to benefit young people and families. Early Break was originally established as a specialist treatment, information and support service for children and young people who used drugs and/or alcohol. Since then, they have evolved and now offer a wide range of services including emotional health and wellbeing groups, specialist bereavement and loss counselling and holistic therapies.

The VRU’s community-led programme in Bury is delivered through Bury Voluntary, Community and Faith Alliance, the VCFA, with the support of 10GM – a joint venture to support the voluntary, community and social enterprise sector in Greater Manchester.

To find out more about the work of the VRU’s community-led approach to violence reduction, visit Community-Led Approach to Violence Reduction – Greater Manchester Violence Reduction Unit ( and follow @gm_vru on Twitter and Instagram.

Article posted on: 23/10/2023 10:10am

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