Hospital-based youth work initiative to extend to Birmingham and Nottingham

By Neil Puffett

| 06 November 2017

An initiative that sees youth workers placed in hospital emergency departments to engage victims of gang violence is set to expand to Birmingham and Nottingham.

John Poyton, chief executive of Redthread, said the expansion will help staff to engage with hundreds more young people each year. Picture: Redthread

Youth work charity Redthread has said it will run a three-year pilot of its Youth Violence Intervention Programme at Queen's Medical Centre in Nottingham from February 2018 and at both Queen Elizabeth Hospital and Heartlands Hospital in Birmingham from July 2018.

Redthread staff will aim to work with young people aged between 11 and 25 who have been victims of serious assaults such as stabbings, gun crime, sexual assault or domestic violence. They will meet the young patients as soon as they can, whether it be in the A&E waiting room, on the ward, or even in the resuscitation bay.

The belief is that at the moment of intense crisis - when the young person is nursing a serious injury in the daunting environment of a busy hospital - can be a catalyst for self-reflection and pursuing positive change.

After leaving hospital, Redthread mentor and advise the young person and support them to make long-term positive plans to keep away from involvement in youth violence or exploitation.
John Poyton, chief executive of Redthread, said the expansion will help staff to engage with hundreds more young people each year. 
"Whilst this model has proven successful in London's major trauma centres, the partnership in the Midlands will enable us to look at how we can support more vulnerable and high-risk young people across the region, allowing us to test the hypothesis that this is a model that could support a truly national public health approach to tackling community violence," he said.
Home Office minister Sarah Newton said government is committed to supporting young people at risk of violence to make positive choices. 

"We are proud to work closely with Redthread, which provides such a valuable service for vulnerable young people at crucial turning points in their lives," she said.

"This year we have committed nearly £200,000 to support their work. And through our Ending Gang Violence and Exploitation programme we have worked closely with partners, and this year awarded over £282,000 to local projects to support important work with young people, professionals and carers."

The Youth Violence Intervention Programme started at King's College Hospital 13 years ago and today operates in all four of London's major trauma centres.

The pilot will take place alongside a research project undertaken by the University of Nottingham. A team of academics will evaluate the impact of the service across the health, social and policing landscape in Nottingham and Birmingham.

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