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Keeping young people safe in Bristol: Our partnership with Safer Options

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We’ve partnered with Bristol’s Violence Reduction Unit, Safer Options, who have adopted a multi-agency approach to prevent serious youth violence and exploitation in Bristol. We caught up with Charlene, Manager of the Safer Options Hub, who explained the important work being delivered in Bristol, and where Leap’s training has played a pivotal role.

Bristol’s Violence Reduction Unit (VRU) brings different professionals including police, youth workers and Bristol Council employees together to keep young people in Bristol safe. Their approach to tackling youth violence involves working in prevention and early intervention with individual young people, peer groups and places. It’s a successful multi-agency model that has recently secured a further three years of Home Office funding. 

Charlene was previously Co-ordinator of the Bristol Gangs’ Awareness project, where she first discovered Leap, and our training for young people. More recently, in her role as Manager of Bristol’s Safer Options Hub, Charlene approached Leap to deliver training for the VRU team. The purpose of the training was to support the VRU team to better understand and navigate conflict, and to equip them to go out and support peer groups in the community with their conflict navigation needs. 

Bristol safeguarding practice model

Leap provided a 5-day group training and development programme for Bristol City Council staff, police officers, and voluntary and community sector organisation (VCSO) workers. We have also delivered follow up sessions with the group to support them in developing their intervention.  

The group responded well to the training, appreciating the space to come together as a multi-agency team. It provided an opportunity for the police and youth workers in particular to better understand each other’s perspectives and ways of working. The group took part in exercises to explore their own relationships with conflict, including different ways of responding in conflict situations, and how to better communicate and manage conflict in a positive way in their work.  One participant shared:

I was really impressed with the delivery and content of the Conflict Training - it was well balanced in engaging the group with their experiences to inform activities and other activities that would engage young people or staff in a meaningful way.

Participants have been firmly involved in the ongoing development of the offer for young people, and expressed their enthusiasm to start delivering this work themselves. Leap will continue to provide support for the VRU workers as they go out and deliver directly to the young people and the peer groups identified through the VRU’s peer mapping exercise. 

To find out more about how we can support your organisation to navigate conflict effectively within teams/in the workplace, please get in touch with our Business Development Manager, Hannah Screech at hannah.screech@leapcc.org.uk or connect via LinkedIn here