Young offenders to benefit from new Erasmus-funded scheme

Fiona Simpson
Friday, May 7, 2021

Young offenders in the UK will benefit from a new programme to build life skills and reduce reoffending funded by Erasmus+.

Dr Adeela Shafi leads on all three programmes in the UK. Picture: Gloucestershire University
Dr Adeela Shafi leads on all three programmes in the UK. Picture: Gloucestershire University

Gloucestershire University will join EU partnership project Life4Skills After Prison which launches later this month.

Teams from the university have been working with custody staff across the UK since 2018 on the education programme Re-engaging Young Offenders in Education and Learning (Renyo) and Active Games 4 Change (AG4C) - a three-year scheme to improve young people’s social and emotional skills.

All three projects are funded by Erasmus+ – the EU's programme supporting education, training, youth and sport in Europe. 

Dr Adeela Shafi, associate professor in education at the University of Gloucestershire and leader of the three projects has said “something needs to change” to prevent children in the youth custody estate and in secure children’s homes reoffending.

“Since its launch in 2018, Renyo has achieved significant advances. More than 50 educators have benefitted from the comprehensive training programme we have developed for those working in secure settings and across the partnership, and more than 100 young people will have benefitted from this work by the end of the project.

“Renyo flips traditional learning by putting young people and their interests first.

“For example, if a young person is interested in cars, we explore with them how this might connect to physics, engineering or even business studies,” she said.

Shafi added that AG4C offers “fun, active and engaging games that develop individuals’ coping mechanisms, including anger management, teamwork, and becoming more aware of the outcomes of their potential actions” designed by psychologists to help improve young offenders’ life skills.

Examples of these activities include scavenger hunt-style challenges and shelter building. 

Renyo is also benefiting young offenders in Italy, Germany and Spain while AG4C is being trialled with young people in Spain, Portugal, Italy, Romania, Hungary and Turkey.

Life4Skills After Prison works with partners in Greece, Norway and Italy as well as the UK.

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