St Giles Trust believes that today’s report from the Centre for Social Justice – Gangs - Time to Wake Up – raises some extremely important issues.
Our ex-offender led SOS Project provides intensive, tailor-made support for young people involved in gangs. Their experiences as caseworkers on the frontline are that current strategies focus on the consequences of gang involvement rather than dealing with the underlying issues. Unless these are tackled, the next generation of gang leaders will emerge in the near future.
St Giles Trust is calling for sustained funding to help address the causes of why young people get sucked into the destructive cycle of gang crime. These issues are complex and there are no quick fixes. However, our experience shows that poverty, broken families, lack of employment and training opportunities and lack of positive role models are all contributing factors.
We recognise that there is no one single solution and that partnership work with other agencies, both voluntary and statutory, is of key importance. We also believe a grassroots approach is essential to address the specific, local needs prevalent amongst gangs.
Our SOS Project uses a mix of personal and practical support to help young people move their lives forward away from gang crime. The support is provided by individuals who have direct experience of the gangs and crime. They become credible role models to their clients and are living proof that change is possible.