Greater Manchester Violence Reduction Unit

Around 70 young people from across Greater Manchester attended the city-region’s latest ‘Hope Hack’ event at Emirates Old Trafford. It aimed to inspire conversation through performances and table discussions about real social issues like gender-based violence and child exploitation.

The event was arranged by Greater Manchester’s Violence Reduction Unit and saw young people from various backgrounds aged between 10 and 16 years from schools, Pupil Referral Units and youth groups come together to share experiences and have the opportunity for their voices to shape national policy.

As well as the Deputy Mayor for Greater Manchester, Kate Green (whose area of work covers policing and crime) the young people watched music and spoken word performances, which highlighted the signs of unhealthy relationships, county lines and exploitation. One performer also shared her own experience of being encouraged to carry a knife at a young age and how she moved away from this relationship.

After each session, the young people were encouraged to discuss what they had heard and asked to offer solutions based on their own experiences.

Some key themes emerging from conversations include:

Ella Farrell, 14, from Wigan attended the event. She said: “I think it’s important that young people have a say because these are issues happening to people our age, so if we have a voice we can do more to tackle it.

“These things can happen to people without even realising, so it’s important we know the signs to look for.”

Hamza Ali, 14, from Rochdale also attended. He said: “I’ve enjoyed the performances because not only have they been fun but they have delivered an important message at the same time.

“It’s not just me who wants my opinions heard – we’re the new generation and we want change. For that to happen, young people need to be listened to. I’m in a position where I can speak to and help other people as a Knife Crime Ambassador at school.”

This feedback will now be shared with The Hope Collective – a national organisation that prioritises youth voice to create long-term solutions – and will inform their ‘Reimagined Manifesto’, which encompasses the challenges and views of young people across the UK.

On 7th December 2024, The Hope Collective will share their Reimagined Manifesto with the new Government to influence key-decision makers and bring about change, driven by the young people who would benefit from bolstered support.

Gary Trowsdale, Programme Director of The Hope Collective, set up the organisation in 2020 to recognise the 20th anniversary of the death of Damilola Taylor – a 10-year-old boy who was stabbed in London in 2000.

After attending Greater Manchester’s Hope Hack, Gary said: “The Hope Hacks are about getting young people together to talk about these serious issues in a safe space with trusted adults who really want to help them and understand what could be causing danger in their communities.

“It’s about giving young people a platform and banding their voices together so that the issues of fairness and safety are taken more seriously.

“We know that young people across the country have shared experiences and the more we listen, the more apparent it becomes that we need real change. This is why it’s so important that these conversations influence decision makers on a local and national level.”

Since its inception in 2019, Greater Manchester’s Violence Reduction Unit has been committed to working with communities and individuals to understand their strengths, challenges and ideas to tackle violence.

As well as preventing violence, the Violence Reduction Unit aims to offer support and provide positive opportunities to those at risk of becoming victims, witnesses or perpetrators by offering education, community sports, targeted mentoring, new skills or therapy.

The unit’s 10-year strategy, Greater than Violence, sets out how this will be achieved – mainly by putting the power in the hands of local communities and ensuring that local people can shape decision-making.

Speaking about the strategy and the enthusiasm shown by the young people during the Hope Hack, Deputy Mayor of Greater Manchester, Kate Green said: “We want everybody in Greater Manchester to live a good life and grow old in a fairer and safer city-region. Violence and fear of violence is an inhibitor to that ambition.

“With our Greater than Violence strategy, we aim to prevent violence but also put measures in place to respond quickly when it happens.

“We do that by working closely with our partners in the police, health, charity sector, youth justice and others but most importantly, by working with our communities.

“It’s fantastic that so many young people in our city-region are so enthusiastic to have their valid experiences and opinions heard and the Hope Hack was a great example of how we are doing things differently in Greater Manchester by putting those voices in front of key-decision makers.

“The themes that came out of the day will rightly be used as part of the Reimagined Manifesto but I’ll take these away also to see what we can do at a Greater Manchester level to support our young people to feel safe and excited about their futures.”


Visual minutes from the Hope Hack

Article posted on: 09/07/2024 08:07am

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