For many families, there are a range of issues behind a young person’s involvement in a gang. These include poverty, unsuitable housing, family separation, bereavement, domestic violence, mental illness and substance misuse. In addition, these young people and their families are more likely to suffer harm themselves.
Lambeth’s Safer Stronger Families takes a ‘whole family’ approach which responds to inter-linked issues, rather than seeing young people’s gang involvement as an isolated problem. It offers support to help the family stay safe, get in touch with support and access education, training and employment opportunities. Over three years, we will be supporting 60 families and delivering gangs awareness training to 110 professionals as part of our STOP project which equips professionals with knowledge and expertise on gang issues.
Cham is our Family Gangs Worker. His aim is to empower families to be able to manage their own problems and prevent future offending and gang involvement.
Here he discusses his work.
“The nature of this job in itself is challenging. The young people are really entrenched in the gang lifestyle with the added extras of substance misuse and a total disregard for statutory support services. This makes it very difficult to engage the client and implement change. I always work better with an added pressure and this drives me to ensure clients are receiving the right support as an alternative option to gangs.
“I am working really hard to find resources and organisations that can work in partnership to offer that something different, being a sounding board for any emotional problems and offering practical support. I find that the young people are well versed in what they need to do right but who has shown real faith in their ability and guided them with consistency?
“However, I am having some positive reactions from clients. I feel that I am healing them through understanding that they are misunderstood and I am becoming enriched with a deeper level of awareness. It reminds me of Dr Frankstein’s creature confessing “The love of another will destroy the cause of my crimes.” “