The ‘Climbover Project’ was created to make good use of youth work to prevent young people from involvement in negative and potential criminal behaviour in addition to supporting the reintegration of young offenders. Organisations from Lithuania, Croatia and the United Kingdom have worked together to create special initiatives which not only serve the needs of marginalised youth, but ensures that they play a significant role in programme development.
All of the parties involved in the project are greatly concerned with the social exclusion and limited future prospects of certain young people. The nature of crimes and activities carried out by individuals in Lithuania, Croatia and United Kingdom vary, but practitioners universally face challenges with developing solutions and preventative work. There is a strong international evidence base demonstrating that investment in preventative services has a positive impact on levels of crime and the opportunities for young people. The Climbover Project is integral because it ensures that organisations across Europe can share best practice and evolve prevention frameworks internationally.
As part of our two-year exchange programme funded by the EU, Voyage facilitated a two-day series of events (23rd & 24thof May 2019) alongside European partners. The overall aim of the two days was to inform practitioners about programmes, policies and approaches (delivered by the state and voluntary sector) in the UK designed to prevent young people from being marginalised (preventative and rehabilitative). Over the two days Voyage immersed and inspired our European guests about how organisations in the London Borough of Hackney collaborate to reduce the negative impact of young people engaged in or on the peripheries of crime. The 2 days had the following structure.
Day 1- A foundation day designed to introduce guests to the the formal structures which exist in a local authority and how the different agencies (police, schools, youth offending teams and youth workers to support a young person deemed at risk. Voyage saw this as an amazing opportunity to encourage guests to think about the balance between local authorities offering supportive work and punitive measures. Contributors included:
Francesca Fadda Archibald – Prevention and Diversion Team leader with the youth department in the council, outlining Hackney Borough’s Youth strategy
Shelli Green – Youth Offending Team Associate Practitioner outlining preventative frameworks and restorative justice approaches.
Simone Nyarko – Consultant Social Worker focused on Contextual Safeguarding
Community Police Officers providing holistic support to young people directly in schools.
Richard Brown – Executive Head at New Regent’s College, Hackney’s vocational college and Pupil Referral Unit.
Additionally, we engaged with voluntary sector organisations including the Wicker’s Charity, an organisation providing structured support to children and young people, enabling them to pursue meaningful lives.
Day 2 – Partners engaged in a number of internal workshops, building upon the 1st day and learning about the approaches used by Voyage to support vulnerable young people. Voyage facilitated a number of workshops challenging participants to underline the most significant differences between practices in the UK and their respective countries.
The second half of the day was focused on partners creating projects and solutions to challenges in their communities. Voyage’s Lead Tutor in Reducing Offending, provided an outline of the steps needed to develop constructive projects, using the Voyage example as a template and individuals were tasked with creating structured projects recognising the challenges and resources in their environments.
Aims of the two days:
Participants should be clear about the ways in which local authorities in London develop strategies to combat youth violence and support vulnerable individuals.
Participants should understand the collaborative process utilised.
Individuals should recognise the emphasis on prevention across all statutory and community sectors.
Participants should understand methods to create projects for engagement with young people, with a better understanding types of methodology for planning, participation and evaluation (e.g. Theory of Change).
Going forward, we will produce a multiplier event, involving a series of workshops with our Hackney Partners later in the year. The aim of the event will be to create a structured project designed to keep vulnerable young people safe and engaged during the summer, when they are more likely to participate in risky behaviours. We will work with a number of practitioners and stakeholders across the borough to develop methods to reduced gaps in provisions provided to young people. This will involve collaboration with Youth Offending and Gangs Team, the HCVS, police teams and voluntary sector groups. Ultimately, we will strive to develop a localised partnership exploring which will offer structured and more responsive peripatetic services to young people.