Scheme’s success sees SHiFT away from crime for vulnerable children in Tameside

Date Released - 01/02/2024

AN INNOVATIVE scheme designed to prevent vulnerable young people’s futures being ruined by crime is transforming lives in Tameside.

A report shows that since SHiFT Tameside was launched in December 2022 there have been reductions in the young people involved committing offences and going missing and improved school attendance.

The scheme is a collaboration between Tameside Council, the Greater Manchester Violence Reduction Unit and the national charity SHiFT. Tameside is the first area outside of London to partner with SHiFT, with Manchester following suit launching its Practice in November 2023.

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.

SHiFT is making an evidenced positive difference to the children they’re working with in Tameside. This includes:

In diverting children from lives plagued by crime, SHiFT Practices also deliver huge cost savings for the taxpayer of up to £2.5million per child by the time they reach 40.

Tameside Council’s Deputy Executive Leader Councillor Bill Fairfoull, who has responsibility for Children and Families, said: “I’m delighted that we’re already seeing the benefits of creating SHiFT Tameside with the intensive work with 27 of our most vulnerable young people helping to break cycles of harm and prevent them being dragged into crime.

“SHiFT Tameside is transforming lives by guiding these young people away from danger and anti-social behaviour and towards safer and brighter futures where they can achieve their potential.”

Tameside Council’s Director of Children’s Services Allison Parkinson said: “The evidence shows that SHiFT Tameside is already doing a remarkable job in steering vulnerable young people away from crime and harm and towards a safer, more prosperous future. I’d like to thank everyone involved for their hard work and I look forward to seeing even more children benefit.”

SHiFT Chief Executive Dr Amy Ludlow said: “I am enormously proud of what’s being achieved for children and families in Tameside. SHIFT Guides are working flexibly and tenaciously in a truly child-centred way, believing in young people until they believe in themselves and changing narratives about and around them in ways that invite different ways of thinking and acting.

“As we step into 2024, SHiFT Tameside will turbocharge its work alongside brilliant Tameside colleagues to surface learning from SHiFT and think about how this can be used to support broader system change to the benefit of more children and families.”

Kate Green, GM Deputy Mayor for policing, crime, criminal justice, and fire, said: “I’m delighted that SHiFT Tameside is supporting some of our most vulnerable young people and diverting them away from crime and violence. Providing young people with positive opportunities for their future is key if we are to reduce violence and that is exactly what SHiFT guides are doing.

“SHiFT is one of many initiatives we are supporting across Greater Manchester to prevent and reduce violence as part of our new 10-year ‘Greater than Violence’ strategy. I look forward to seeing the continued success of the programme in Tameside and the roll out in Manchester.”

SHiFT Tameside is a partnership, with philanthropic investment matched by shared public investment from the GM Violence Reduction Unit and Tameside Council. To find out more about SHiFT, please visit


Vulnerable young people’s lives being transformed

The SHiFT way of working allows Guides to work closely and intensively with young people, in ways that other services do not always have the time or resource to do.

One young person being supported by SHiFT is 17-year-old Luke. For several months, Luke said he did not want to work with SHiFT. He had experienced a difficult childhood, was not attending school and there were concerns about his criminal behaviour.

Luke had had difficult previous experiences with professionals; lots of people had come into and out of his life, and he and his family felt let down. Luke’s Guide made it his business to find a “hook” to build a relationship with Luke. A turning point came when Luke was arrested, and his Guide dropped everything to go and see him at court. Sitting in the cells, Luke later told SHiFT “I have never been so glad to see someone I knew.” At last, his Guide had “an in” and, as his Nanna put it, his Guide “chipped away without being in his face.” Luke shared with his Youth Justice Worker that he felt relieved and glad that he received Bail Support as it provided him with a reason to distance himself from the area and people where he was finding himself getting in trouble. It has also allowed him to access support which he needed. Luke and his Guide have since worked very closely together, building on existing relationships with other professionals from youth justice,  speech and language and substance misuse, helping Luke to identify and manage his emotions and understand the relationship between his feelings and behaviour and the childhood neglect and trauma he experienced. Luke’s Guide has taken time to understand the context of Luke’s offending – and the needs for recognition and belonging that underpin the circumstances and behaviours that put him at risk and in conflict with the law. Luke’s Guide has advocated for Luke to get an NRM which recognises the criminal exploitation that Luke has experienced. 

Since working with his SHiFT Guide, Luke has enjoyed many successes and has challenged himself to try new things, working through his social anxiety. He has attended activities with other young people and started fishing with his Guide, enrolled on a college course, watched Man City play football at the Etihad, visited the Imperial War Museum at Salford to learn about the devastation of war, and recently started going to the gym. Improvements have been so positive that it was felt he no longer needed a social worker. Luke has also attended a national SHiFT event in London, representing Tameside and sharing his voice about what helps break the cycle of crime for young people. He hopes to build on this further in 2024 by taking part in a SHiFT filmmaking residential.

The strong trusting relationship that has been built between Luke and his Guide extends also to Luke’s family, enabling them to feel supported to keep Luke safe, feeling loved and cared for at home. “I can message any time, day or night, and he gets back. Even if he hasn’t got the answers straight away, he’s there, he cares and he listens to me,” says Luke’s Nanna about his SHiFT Guide. Sometimes “we [Luke and his Nanna] peck heads”, she says, but “for whatever reason Luke can hear things from [his Guide] that he can’t from me – he puts different ideas in his head and Luke takes it onboard.” Luke’s Guide has been “the best thing that ever happened to us,” she continues, “he doesn’t judge, gets stuck in and makes things happen, and is truly there for the kids. He sees beyond them getting in trouble to reach the person that’s really inside.” Luke shared that previously he “could not see a way out.” By working closely with Luke’s family and other professionals within his support network, Luke’s Guide hopes to cement the strong foundations Luke needs for positive change to sustain in his life when his Guide steps back after 18 months of intensive work together.