Council Awarded £100k To Train & Mentor Youths  

New project to steer young people away from gangs

Local young people at risk of being drawn into gang activity will be given extra support, training and mentoring to help steer them away from trouble and into full time education or work.

Following a successful funding bid the council has been awarded £100k by the City Bridge Trust to deliver a “Get Young People Working” (GYPW) programme in Wandsworth. Local charity Catch 22 will help run the initiative over the next two years

The partnership scheme will provide a range of tailored training and mentoring to develop young people’s employability skills, build confidence and help break cycles of negative behaviour.

As part of the programme 16 local young people with acute needs will be provided with ‘supported apprenticeships’. These apprenticeships come with extra assistance and are targeted towards local people who would otherwise not be able to access this type of training.

Another 70 young people will be offered extended work placements to help them develop and progress to full-time employment.

Part of the funding will also be used to build a more comprehensive register of young people at risk of becoming embroiled in gangs so they can be offered targeted support before their lives go off the rails.

Mark Boleat, Chairman of Policy at the City of London, said: “This initiative is enabling London boroughs and voluntary organisations to work together in partnership to develop flexible and creative strategies that are responsive to local needs. That is why “Get Young People Working” aims to support grass roots initiatives across the 32 boroughs – each of which has its own specific challenges in this area.” ?

Cllr Kathy Tracey, Wandsworth Council’s education spokesman, said:
“This is about rescuing vulnerable young people from the brink of gang membership and saving them and their families from a lifetime of serious trouble and pain. Through this programme we will offer local youths a clear pathway out of trouble along with personalised, intensive support to help them keep on a positive track.

She continued: “The project will also equip young people with the key skills and self belief they need to get on in the workplace and reach their potential. By working closely with the City Bridge Trust and local organisations like Catch 22 we can identify young people at risk and break cycles of destructive behaviour.”

The programme will involve the council’s pupil referral unit, 14-19 team, youth service and lifelong learning service working closely with Catch 22. The GYPW programme is funded for two years and is being launched at a local level in every London borough.

For further information about Wandsworth’s programme contact Linda Owusu at

More information on youth support services is available on the council’s website.

January 4, 2014