Supporting young people in Tameside onto more positive life paths

Date Released - 26/09/2023

YOUNG people at risk of being drawn into gang related behaviour and crime are successfully being turned onto more positive paths thanks to partnership work between Tameside Council and charity Foundation 92.

Each year the council’s community safety team receive a ‘Serious Violence’ grant from Greater Manchester’s Violence Reduction Unit to be used towards deterring young people from negative lifestyles.

For the past 12 months, part of the funding has been used to commission Foundation 92, which is an independent charity that focuses on supporting people to improve their lives through sport and education, with an emphasis on positive physical and mental wellbeing.

Tameside secondary pupil Josh, whose real name has been changed to protect his identity, is an example of how well the programme is working.

Josh was referred into Foundation 92’s mentoring programme by his school’s pastoral lead. He had been displaying concerning risk factors in his behaviour, which the pastoral lead believed was attributed to engaging in ‘gang’ based activity in the community. The school had received intelligence that Josh was potentially selling drugs in the community on behalf of a family friend.

Josh had a love for football. He had played to a good standard when younger but had fallen out of love of the game due to the negative influences in his life. Foundation 92 was able to develop a positive relationship with Josh from the outset, using his love for football as a way to build a relationship.

Josh initially was closed and did not want to open up to Foundation 92’s mentor, as he feared getting in trouble with the police. However, when Josh learned about the benefits of Foundation 92’s mentoring offer, which took place in school and in the community, Josh opened up and informed Foundation 92’s mentors that he in fact, felt that he was being exploited by an older friend.

Having learned about Josh’s concern, Josh was provided with an intensive wrap around support offer which aimed to build his awareness of exploitation and how to identify this and his ability to challenge and identify risk taking behaviour. It also aimed to develop his ability to make more positive decisions around his conduct and build his confidence, self-worth and awareness of the negative impact drugs/alcohol has on decision making skills and his aspiration.

Foundation 92’s mentoring enabled Josh to make more informed decisions around his conduct in the community and build a more positive friendship group, which has led to significant reduction in him getting involved in negative behaviour and put him on a more positive path.

Councillor Vimal Choksi, Tameside Council Executive Member for Towns and Communities, said: “It is inspiring to see the collaborative work between services and the community that has successfully diverted young people in Tameside away from violent and damaging environments, to ensure they are building more positive and healthy foundations for their lives.”

For more information about Tameside Council’s Community Safety team, click here. If you would like more information about Foundation 92, visit this website.