Rising youth crime reflects wider societal problems

‘If tackling the root causes of knife crime remains the priority, it’s time to invest in community responses,’ writes Steve Phaure

The number of primary school children in pupil referral units (PRUs) in England has more than doubled since 2011, as part of a wider surge in the number of permanent exclusions in England and Wales over the past decade (Steep rise in under-11s excluded from school for being disruptive, 1 April). This is a symptom of wider societal problems; young people in disadvantaged areas, who are suffering as a result of cuts to their schools and youth services, understandably feel disillusioned and as though they’ve been abandoned. When disillusion occurs, crime, particularly youth crime, goes up.

Click below for the full article:


People are leaving east London ‘because of immigrants’, BBC documentary reveals

By Ashitha NageshSaturday 14 May 2016 7:38 pm

Shoppers on East Ham high street in Newham (Picture: Alamy)

The BBC is going to show a documentary on changing attitudes towards immigrants in Newham. ‘Last Whites of the East End’, which will be broadcast on BBC One, will take a stark look at people’s attitudes to residents of other races in the east London borough. While gentrification, rising house prices, a lack of affordable social housing and rising in-work poverty drive people further out of the capital and ravage the city, some in this documentary have focused their dislike on the area’s increased diversity. Many reports have since implied this shows an irreversible, undesirable change in the area – that some intangible quality is being lost.

Read more: https://metro.co.uk/2016/05/14/people-are-leaving-east-london-because-of-immigrants-bbc-documentary-reveals-5882272/


Analysis: Brexit has split the UK cabinet – but is it also dividing communities? By Paul Gosling, 09 July 2018

AS the David Davis and Boris Johnson resignations confirm, Brexit is a divisive issue. It represents the most significant UK political faultline in decades – in fact, since the UK joined what was then the European Economic Community in 1973. Brexit has created what could potentially be a fatal split in both the UK’s major parties – ironically at a time when there is no large third party to exploit the divisions. Theresa May had successfully bullied her Cabinet into reluctant accord at Chequers, but the resignation of her government colleagues may herald the outbreak of full-blown Conservative civil war.

The Brexit division is symptomatic of, yet different to, what is happening internationally in politics. It is different in the sense that other western European nations have a traditional Christian democrat Vs social democrat competition, which is being disrupted by newly emerging populist parties that do not come from a traditional left or right wing perspective. It is also different in the sense that Labour remains a strong party in Britain, while other social democrat parties are being humiliated across Europe.

But Brexit is similar to what is happening in much of Europe and also in the United States in the sense that it is rooted in the emergence of ‘identity politics’. For many voters today, ideology apparently does not matter – it is a contest about the representation of different communities. Trump’s victory was to a significant extent about white men seeking to assert their traditional social dominance over black communities (repudiating the Obama legacy) and feminists. Brexit can be seen as a conflict between predominantly European and Anglo-Saxon cultures.

In England – and Brexit is mostly about tensions within English society – Brexit expresses a sense of anger by communities left behind. The poorest regions of England voted for Brexit, despite objective analysis suggesting they will lose the most. It was an expression of anger by communities that were once thriving from coal mining, steel works and manufacturing who had their incomes and their sense of identity destroyed by de-industrialisation. These were communities badly damaged again by the reduction in real incomes following the Great Recession of 2008 and 2009.

When I interviewed former Greek finance minister Yanis Varoufakis a few months ago, he argued that the underlying cause of Brexit was the failure of English regional policy. He has a point. England contains some of the poorest and some of the richest regions in Europe. Moreover, anyone who has lived a long time in England, or – like me – is English, knows that in addition to the feeling of dispossession, or the fear of change, there can also be an ugly undercurrent of racism.

But when it comes to identity politics, there is perhaps no one who does it better than Northern Ireland. And Brexit is adding another layer of nastiness into this. Differences have become boiled down to unionists as ‘leavers’ and nationalists and republicans as ‘remainers’. (This is simplistic: many unionists voted remain and some republicans voted leave.)

Community relations got better after the Good Friday Agreement. But it is significant that one phrase is used repeatedly to describe what is happening in Northern Ireland following the Brexit vote. Things are “going backwards”.


That phrase was used by David Holloway, director of the Northern Ireland organisation Community Dialogue. He says that the combined effects of the collapse of power sharing at Stormont and the tensions over Brexit are creating serious tensions between communities. The border has suddenly become important again. “There is a palpable sense of community retrenchment into traditional unionist and nationalist positions,” says Holloway. “Things are becoming black and white again, where they had blurred at the edges.”

The phrase that things are ‘going backwards’ was also used by teenagers and young adults, consulted by NI’s Children’s Law Centre. For many of them, the division is between the young and the old. Anger is expressed that young people, below the voting age, had their life chances reduced by the voting decisions of older adults. That anger has become something like despair for many teenagers from other EU nations who have moved here and now expect to be forced to depart. And despite police figures showing a long-term downward trend in racial attacks in Northern Ireland, the experience of the contributors was that tension has grown for nationals of other EU countries – including Roma.

The Brexit referendum was conducted without subtlety and featured claims that were typically unverified and often false. It had an immediate and substantial impact on those most affected – the under 18s and EU nationals living in the UK – who had no say in the outcome. And the region most affected – Northern Ireland – was barely considered in the debate in Britain. It is a toxic combination that has inevitably increased tension between communities all over the UK, but particularly in Northern Ireland. These factors also mean the Brexit division is based more on emotion than reason. This is the most dangerous division of all – as Northern Ireland knows only too well.

Paul Gosling is a politics & economics writer based in Derry/L’Derry.

Creative Community Engagement Case Studies – Eden Project, Cornwall, UK

At Eden we use creative ways to engage visitors, including storytelling and practical activities. We’ve also taken these techniques out into neighbourhoods, to shape a series of community engagement events.

Using fun and inspiring techniques such as art, music, storytelling, humour and hands-on practical activities, has proved a fantastic way to involve people in influencing the future of where they live. We’ve used them in neighbourhood planning events, whether it be helping people make the most of green spaces, kickstart community enterprises, understand climate change, or respond to large-scale planning developments affecting the area.

Along with other forward-thinking organisations in Cornwall, we’ve designed sessions in all shapes and sizes – but we always make sure that they are as little like conventional stakeholder engagement events as possible. Among them you’ll find:

  • drop-in community planning days, designed like local fêtes
  • film-making workshops with local stakeholders
  • learning journeys to other communities
  • practical training on everything from gardening to business skills

What they all have in common is an ambition to value the process as much as the products of engagement. Our sessions aim to:

  • establish a real sense of participation
    We give people tangible ways to input to the day, such as setting up ‘washing lines’ or ‘rant pinboards’ where they can add their comments.
  • encourage new people to get involved
    We reach out to as many age groups as possible by providing a convivial setting (often with tea, cake and bunting!) in a venue that’s easily accessible.
  • inspire new thinking
    By creating an inspirational space and offering practical activities – such as contributing to ideas scrapbooks – we try to raise people’s aspirations of what’s possible.
  • catalyse partnerships
    We convene different people, from residents to service providers to community groups, in a neutral space where they can find common ground.
Contact the team about community engagement: jrose@edenproject.com
Click on link to case studies from the Eden Project: 

Meet generation Greta: young climate activists around the world

Young climate activists Amy (on left) and Ella Meek, litter-picking in fields in Nottinghamshire

They’re too young to vote, but schoolchildren across the globe are taking matters into their own hands

In May, for the second time this year, more than 1.5 million young people in more than 125 countries walked out of schools, colleges and universities in the biggest day of global climate action everYoung people have protested en masse before – millions marched against the Iraq war in 2003 – but this child-led uprising is happening with unprecedented momentum on a global scale.

The urgency of their protests reflects the very narrow window of opportunity left to make positive change. We are already living outside the climate parameters that first gave rise to humans, and the world’s leading climate scientists agree that we have only 12 years to limit global warming to a maximum of 1.5°C. Still, most governments are not doing enough to stay within these limits as set out by the United Nation’s 2015 Paris agreement.

The complexities of the climate crisis have become highly politicised, but young people are able to cut through the noise. As Jamie Clarke, executive director of Climate Outreach, explains: “Climate change is the most politically divisive issue in America, more so than gun control and abortion. But young people have the social freedom to say it like it is.”

UK Youth Climate Coalition’s Jake Woodier believes that climate strikes are reconfiguring the political sphere. “Children who historically don’t have a voice in politics are really thrusting their opinions into the public domain,” he says. “We are seeing thousands of incredibly intelligent and articulate children who are grasping the severity of the climate crisis better than adults in power.” Here, seven young people who are doing just that, explain where their passion comes from.

For the full article click the link below:


Social Innovation – empowerment, youth activism and engagement: examples from South London

Two, of many, very different examples of youth engagement and empowerment organisations in South London.

Ebony Horse Club: On the notorious Brixton Angell Town estate an inner city horse club is making inroads and engaging with some of the local young people at risk of being drawn into gang culture.


The Advocacy Academy:

What is it? The Advocacy Academy is a transformational Social Justice Fellowship for young people who are passionate about making a difference in the world. Across six intense months, we support young leaders from marginalised communities to develop the knowledge, skills and confidence to tackle some of the biggest challenges of the 21st century.




Realising Ambition

Realising Ambition

A UK-wide programme funded by the Big Lottery Fund investing in outstanding projects that have a strong track record of helping young people to fulfil their potential and avoid pathways into offending.

Realising Ambition is a UK-wide £25m Big Lottery Fund programme replicating 25 services aimed at preventing children and young people from entering the criminal justice system. Launched in 2012, the five year programme is providing grant funding and specialist support to 22 organisations to refine and build the evidence base of their services.

Realising Ambition aims to:

  • improve the evidence base of what works, for whom and why in avoiding pathways into offending
  • promote learning about what it takes to replicate evidence-based interventions
  • help commissioners to ask the right questions about evidence, practice and impact.

The programme is being led by Catch22 with the Dartington Social Research UnitSubstance and the Young Foundation as consortium partners.

Rather than writing a long evaluation report at the end of the five-year programme – which would likely be read by very few people – the Realising Ambition consortium are instead producing a series of 10 Programme Insights.Each of these Programme Insights is designed to share reflections, learning and practical implications from Realising Ambition. There are three themes to these Insights:

  • Focus Pieces that describe concepts and share some of our reflections and opinions
  • Findings Pieces that report empirical data emerging from the programme and associated evaluation activities
  • Field Guides that are practical ‘how to’ guides for a variety of audiences.

By sharing ideas, successes, challenges and even some mistakes, we hope to support and inspire others considering, undertaking or commissioning their own replication journey.

These insight publications may be accessed here: https://www.catch-22.org.uk/services/realising-ambition/publications/



Substance Misuse and Young People – Early Intervention Approaches

The following extract is from ‘Young People and Substance Misuse’ by Young People’s Health Partnership, linked here: http://www.youngpeopleshealth.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/Young-People-and-Substance-Misuse-Report.pdf

The latest official data shows that drinking and drug use among young people has more than halved over the past 10 years. Yet there are still significant numbers of young people across the country using and misusing substances, and some of these are at risk of developing severe and enduring substance misuse problems that continue into adulthood. Health inequalities relating to substance misuse are evident, with vulnerable groups (such as those excluded from school, young offenders and care leavers) far more likely to experience substance misuse problems.

As a member of the Young People’s Health Partnership, a consortium of organisations working with the Department of Health, Public Health England and NHS England as strategic partners to raise the profile of the health agenda across the voluntary youth sector, Addaction has produced this briefing about young people’s substance misuse and how local services and commissioners can respond to this issue. This is a huge and complex issue so we have chosen to focus this document on one area that Addaction believes is vital in any local approach to drug and alcohol misuse among young people: early intervention.

Early intervention best practice demonstrates what the Young People’s Health Partnership is all about: an integrated approach to young people’s health and wellbeing, building the skills of the youth sector, partnership working, and – most importantly – young people leading the way.

Planning and Delivering a Drug Information Workshop

The following extract is from ‘The Substance Use Peer Education Responses Manual’, compiled by Bernie Roe, linked here: https://www.drugsandalcohol.ie/3705/1/1833-1768.pdf


  • To help the participants identify the practical skills needed when planning a group presentation
  • To explore the different ways of presenting information
  • To encourage participants to use their own language in presenting information on drugs
  • This exercise can also be used for doing some foundation work on the building of confidence and self-esteem

Materials needed

  •  Health promotion leaflets
  •  Drug information booklets
  •  Newspaper articles
  •  Other drug related handouts or literature
  •  Slides and visual aids are also useful


  • Split the main group into a couple of small working groups.
  • Ask each group to focus on one aspect of drugs or drug use that they have an interest in and that they feel is relevant to their peer group.
  • The groups are then given time to research and gather information on their chosen topic.
  • They have to prepare a presentation using whatever skills and resources that are available within their working group.

As a group they must

  • Choose the most appropriate information
  • Agree on a presentation style
  • Co-operate
  • Listen to each other

When they are finished putting their presentation together, each group presents to the other members of the main group.

Questions for discussion

As a group explore the most important aspects of presenting information.

  • How important is adequate planning?
  • What are the most effective and least effective ways of getting your message across?


Peer Education

The following extract is from ‘The Substance Use Peer Education Responses Manual’, compiled by Bernie Roe, linked here: https://www.drugsandalcohol.ie/3705/1/1833-1768.pdf

Youth Peer Education is based on the belief that young people are the ones best equipped to inform, challenge and relate to other young people.

This type of Youth Peer Training has a valuable role to play in the health education of young people. It is not an alternative. It is an enhancement, so therefore it can work alongside and compliment other forms of youth work and health education.

The peer group is an important source of support and a place where standards begin to develop so working with Peer Educators means using the positive aspects of this process.

The Youth Peer Education concept makes positive use of potential peer influence, it is an approach which empowers young people to work with other young people and which draws on the positive strength of the peer group. This form of education encourages young people to place more emphasis on their own thoughts and decisions.

Youth Peer Education promotes personal growth and new skills for many young people that will assist them in all areas of their lives.

Peer Education can be an innovative way of breaking down barriers between adults and young people because in the process adults must be prepared to acknowledge the power and skills of young people and allow them to take control and make decisions.


  • promote self-confidence,
  • identify limits and rituals,
  • recognise young people as a valuable resource,
  • promote democratic development,
  • help the competence of young people
  • be voluntary and respect personal responsibility,
  • involve all participants in planning and facilitate joint ownership of project,
  • show clear roles and goals,
  • be supported and evaluated.