Despite all our best efforts, gang-related crime is still with us.
In response, brap, in partnership with Yungstas, created and delivered the Back on Track project. It tries to avoid the problems associated with many gang intervention by providing long-term, intensive engagement.
Back on Track works with young people 10 years or over who are at risk of:
- coming into contact with criminal gangs
- getting affected by gang activity
- coming into contact with the Criminal Justice System
It provides a free mentoring and support programme that helps them to:
- build confidence and self esteem
- re-energise their aspirations and build stronger resilience
- improve participation at school/re-engage with education
- identify routes into employment or training
- manage anger, expand their negotiation and social skills
The programme also works with the families of young people affected by crime, to support parents and other siblings.
Since 2013, the Back on Track programme has been run as a project called Plan C, in partnership with mentoring experts Yungstas and KIKIT PWR. Using a range of mentors with different skills ensures each young person receives holistic, multi-faceted support. Plan C uses a two-pronged model of mentoring:
- strength-based: Plan C mentoring attempts to move away from looking at only the risk and needs of the young person and brings a focus on the strengths and resources in and around the young person. It’s not just about the individual’s capacity but also the strength they draw from others such as family or community. We focus on how we develop those strengths further and how we build up areas where the young person is less strong.
- practical support: we recognise the young people we work with often live chaotic lives. So – unless we address the ‘here and now’ practical issues facing the young person (housing issues, school exclusion, and so on) – we very often don’t get to focus on their strengths. Our role here revolves around sign posting to other agencies that are better placed to address the issue (although we recognise there may be a role for a mentor in supporting the individual through the process).
Since 2011, brap's gang interventions have engaged over 50 young people.
Plan C is funded by Birmingham City Council. Prior to this, Back on Track was financed by the Home Office through the Communities against Gangs Guns and Knives Fund. For more information, contact us here.