Two Cardiff-based services which launched this month (11 July 2018) are helping disadvantaged adults into employment and young people exploited through gangs.
The Big Lottery Fund supported Peer Forward project offers vocational training and work placements enabling disadvantaged people to become qualified information and advice workers. Through Peer Forward, individuals with experiences such as homelessness, substance misuse, time in the criminal justice system and long-term unemployment get the chance to gain valuable skills and experience whilst helping others.
Peer Forward was launched at an event at the Duke of Connaught Suite in Cardiff’s Masonic Hall. The event also saw the official launch of St Giles Trust Cymru’s CLIC (County Lines in Cymru) project. Funded by Children in Need, CLIC works with other agencies such as the police and local authority to identify and support under 18s being exploited and coerced through gangs. Through intensive mentoring and advice, it helps young people stay safe and address any underlying problems such as family issues and money. It ultimately aims to re-engage young people with education, training and positive lifestyles.
CLIC has been developed in response to a distressing and growing phenomenon of London gangs sending young people to Cardiff to deal drugs and recruit other vulnerable young people locally as drug runners and dealers through county lines activity. It builds on St Giles Trust’s experience in tackling county lines through its London-based SOS Project which helps young people exit gangs.
“The effects of county line involvement are devastating for the young people involved and those around them,” said Justine Jenkins, Manager at St Giles Trust Cymru. “Gangs deliberately target young people who are vulnerable and least likely to
cry for help.
“We are very grateful to the Big Lottery Fund, Children in Need and all our partners for their support and are looking forward to working with them to help some of society’s most disadvantaged people move their lives forward.”