Innovative scheme launches in Tameside to SHiFT vulnerable children away from crime

Date Released - 13/12/2022

AN INNOVATIVE scheme has been launched in Tameside that will help prevent vulnerable young people’s lives being ruined by crime.

The high-profile launch at Hyde Town Hall on Tuesday 13 December, saw community leaders from Greater Manchester, including police, health and education chiefs, support the creation of SHiFT Tameside.

The scheme is a collaboration between Tameside Council, the Greater Manchester Violence Reduction Unit and the national charity SHiFT, which was highlighted recently as part of the former Children’s Commissioner Anne Longfield’s Commission on Young Lives. Tameside is the first area outside of London to partner with SHiFT; an initiative which has transformed lives in the capital.

SHiFT aims to break the destructive cycle of young people caught up in, or at risk of, crime. Children supported by SHiFT build intensive, trusting relationships with persistent practitioners - SHiFT Guides – who work with everyone important in each child’s life to do whatever it takes to support children in improving their lives.

The event heard from speakers including Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham and Deputy Mayor of Greater Manchester for Policing, Crime, Criminal Justice and Fire, Baroness Beverley Hughes, managers from Tameside Council’s Children’s Service, and colleagues from SHiFT, including one of the organisation’s Co-Founders and current Chair, Josh MacAlister.

Young people were involved in the launch, including music performed by bands organised by Tameside Music Service. Professor Carlene Firmin, from Durham University, gave a keynote speech on increasing safety for young people.

Research shows how SHiFT has already achieved positive outcomes with two-thirds of participants remaining crime free. In diverting children from lives plagued by crime, SHiFT Practices are also delivering huge cost savings for the taxpayer of up to £2.5million per child by the time they reach 40.

Tameside SHiFT will draw on these experiences to develop a Practice of multi-skilled professionals that will be carefully tailored to the meet the local needs of Tameside’s young people. The Practice will support 27 children in the borough identified by a wide range of professionals as the most vulnerable.

The programme intends to make Tameside a beacon of excellence in Greater Manchester, with the aspiration to scale the Practice further across the area, creating more opportunities for collaboration.

Tameside Council’s Deputy Executive Leader Councillor Bill Fairfoull, who has responsibility for Children and Families, said: “It’s fantastic that Tameside is leading the way in becoming the first area outside of London to work with SHiFT to prevent vulnerable young people being dragged into crime and to break cycles of harm.

“We have heard powerful stories of how SHiFT has transformed lives and I’m filled with hope at what can be achieved in Tameside and what this collaboration is going to do to secure safe and bright futures for the most vulnerable young people in our borough.

“I’d like to thank everyone involved for establishing SHiFT Tameside and for the brilliant launch event and I look forward to seeing its achievements.”

Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, said: “SHiFT will provide an additional support service for young people in Tameside who are vulnerable to serious violence, and will complement the work that Greater Manchester’s Violence Reduction Unit are doing in Tameside to engage with young people and provide interventions and opportunities.

“Ensuring young people have positive relationships with practitioners and services, and access to opportunities is vitally important in reducing serious violence and giving young people a better chance to thrive. I look forward to seeing the success of the programme in Tameside.”

SHiFT Chief Executive Dr Amy Ludlow said: “Without the right foundations and support, children and young people can become caught up in worsening cycles of harmful behaviour – becoming exploited or exploiting others, and causing serious, sometimes devastating damage, to themselves or others. Lives are lost to criminal and sexual exploitation, modern day slavery, and the criminal justice system.

“SHiFT is working to transform policy and practice in how young people in these circumstances are seen and supported to break these destructive cycles. Our partnership with Tameside is hugely exciting. We’ve recruited brilliant new colleagues to the Practice and all of our sleeves are rolled up ready to get alongside children, families and colleagues with determination and aspiration.”

SHiFT Tameside is a partnership, with philanthropic investment from the Bruno Schroder Trust and the Dulverton Trust matched by shared public investment from the GM Violence Reduction Unit and Tameside Council. The impact of the service will be evaluated.

To find out more about SHiFT, please visit



Vulnerable young people reveal SHiFT’s success

VULNERABLE young people have revealed how SHiFT has helped them to break free from crime and transform their lives. And evaluation shows how the innovative approach has achieved positive outcomes and huge cost savings.

Two-thirds of the young people SHiFT has worked with to date through its London Practices have remained offence-free. Evaluation has also found a 48% reduction in children’s missing episodes, and a significant reduction in risks of criminal exploitation. 26% of the young people who were out of education, employment or training are now back in the classroom or at work.

By diverting them from a life plagued by crime, independent evaluation estimates that SHiFT delivers cost savings of up to £2.5million per child by the time they reach 40. For each child, the cost of SHiFT amounted to no more than 3% of costs avoided until the age of 40. For every £1 spent on SHiFT, £8 is saved over ­five years, and £33 is saved over 20 years.

Research suggests the success of SHiFT is down to the flexibility of SHiFT’s Guides who go where the child goes, fi­nd the ‘hook’ to engage and build a relationship, and work tenaciously with everyone important in a child’s life to raise aspirations, change narratives, tackle challenges and support children to achieve their goals. Children supported by SHiFT report feeling seen and heard.


Meet Banquo Jr

Fourteen-year-old Banquo Jr was convicted for three separate knife crime incidents. He had been excluded from mainstream school and professionals considered that he was at high risk of going to prison. He lived with his mother Grace who felt she had lost control of her son and feared he would be killed. He was associating with older influential males who professionals linked to crime and other damaging and destructive behaviour in the community.

Banquo’s SHiFT Guide Holly found him engaging and articulate with significant academic potential and the ability to reflect on his mistakes. Holly put a plan in place involving a small but cohesive team who believed in him. 

Banquo’s academic ambition to get a full suite of GCSEs couldn’t be achieved because of his exclusion, so Holly worked with his mum and education colleagues to get him back into mainstream education and stretched him with additional homework while providing support. Holly encouraged his passion for football by finding him a place in a local team and taking him to training where he developed a relationship with the team and coach.

Holly’s commitment ignited determination in Banquo, while his contact with negative peers who were known to carry knives dissipated as he got his ‘thrills’ from sport.

Banquo is now flourishing, studying for 8 GCSEs and part of the school football team. The school has praised how he has settled in and he’s achieved his targets of ‘being safe’ and ‘being respectful’. Five services were involved in Banquo’s life but he is now supported only by his Guide, the Youth Offending Service and his Charlton Athletics Mentor. Holly visits him on a weekly basis to talk through any issues and nip any emerging concerns in the bud.

The work between Banquo and Holly has helped him reset the foundations of his life and feel that he is not defined by his mistakes and can build a better and positive future. 

Independent evaluation estimates that if Banquo had continued a life of crime it would have cost the taxpayer £2.5million until he reached the age of 40.

Hear and read more about Banquo Jr’s story here -


Meet Jaimie

Seventeen-year-old Jaimie has lived in a Local Authority home since she was ten and has moved placements numerous times, eight in the last five years alone, often due to her displaying aggressive and sometimes violent behaviour towards other children and staff. There have been concerns around Child Sexual Exploitation involving her father. She has convictions for criminal damage, violence, and affray. 

Jaimie was spending most evenings on the streets, staying up all night, hanging out with older people, drinking, and sometimes getting into fights. She was highly vulnerable with no reliable adults in her life and an easy target for both sexual and criminal exploitation. Jaimie’s Guide, Azaria, knew Jaimie from a previous placement some years before. With Jaimie’s humour, caring attitude, and insightful comments about her past experiences, Azaria was pleased to be working with her again – she knew they would find a connection that would work for Jamie. But Azaria also knew that developing a relationship with Jaimie would take time given Jaimie’s history of fractured relationships and lack of trustworthy adults/role models in her life.

Azaria worked closely with Jaimie’s Social Worker in the first few weeks of getting alongside Jaimie. Their strong relationship provided a good foundation for Azaria to be able to speak with Jaimie. However, Jaimie’s life has often been characterised by crises. This has been no different since Azaria has been working with her. Initially focusing on employment and self-esteem, Azaria’s work with Jaimie had to pivot quickly when a health scare resulted in a 2am, panicked phone call from Jaimie. Azaria was there, to answer the phone and attend the subsequent health appointments. Azaria was the person Jaimie could turn to. 

With sustained support from her Guide for the last nine months, Jaimie’s confidence in seeking her own medical support is increasing. With Azaria’s support, she has accessed mental health services and has been diagnosed with depression. She is being referred to a team for support and has been to develop better sleeping patterns. A key part of the work with Jaimie has been to help her find ways to express her needs to others in a calm manner that communicates her feelings without becoming aggressive. Azaria has been working with her to learn different techniques of engaging with others and talking with her about the consequences different behaviours can have. Recently, Jaimie has started to use the systems within her placement to raise issues asking Azaria to support her in writing an email to make requests. 

Azaria’s work has helped Jaimie have a more positive view of herself. Azaria gently challenges Jaimie’s negative self-talk and praises her and encourages her to see the skills that she has. Beyond this though, Azaria has been able to get alongside Jaimie to build her confidence to enter new spaces and try new things. Jaimie believing that she is able to do new things, that people won’t judge her, and that she is capable of getting a job are the first stepping stones to her realising her aspirations for a life without the problems she has had so far. Things are on the up… Jaimie’s currently working on her CV. 

Breaking Jamie’s cycles of crime is estimated to save just over £1million by the time she’s 40.

Hear and read more about Jaimie’s story here -