New programme to deliver therapeutic support for 2,500 young people at greatest risk of violence
A new programme centred on Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) is being delivered to 2,500 children and young people at greatest risk of violence in every London borough.
Specialist frontline practitioners from London borough children’s services are now delivering CBT interventions, which help young people manage challenges in their lives by breaking the cycle and changing the way they think and behave.
The Your Choice programme offers intensive, therapeutic support for young people aged 11-17 who are at most risk of being affected by violence or exploitation. It will now begin to be delivered by borough frontline practitioners working with children and young people in each of the 32 boroughs across London.
London’s Violence Reduction Unit (VRU) secured £10m funding from the Home Office and the Youth Endowment Fund to deliver a targeted three-year programme, which will be managed by London boroughs through the London Innovation and Improvement Alliance (LIIA) on behalf of the Association of London Directors of Children’s Services.
Up to 2,500 young Londoners will be referred to the programme by borough children’s services and has been integrated into existing local services for young people to ensure it is reaching children in the places they usually go and has a lasting impact.
The VRU’s Young People’s Action Group were involved in co-producing Your Choice and provided regular feedback to ensure a young person’s perspective was central to the programme’s design and delivery.
To launch the programme, VRU Director Lib Peck visited Westside Young People’s Centre in Ealing on Monday, to see a team of frontline practitioners take part in CBT training.
A view of the session exploring CBT in the main hall. Photo by Chris Yeoh.
Participants and stakeholders partake in a roundtable discussion. Photo by Chris Yeoh.
Each speaker introduces themselves and their role in the Your Choice initiative. Photo by Chris Yeoh.
Metanoia Institute's Peter Pearce listens to a participant's story in the Your Choice programme. Photo by Chris Yeoh.
Metanoia Institute's Peter Pearce speaks to camera on his and the Institute's function in the London-wide Your Choice programme. Photo by Chris Yeoh.
Rita Moran (centre) and Peter Pearce converse with a delegate after the roundtable discussion. Photo by Chris Yeoh.
Metanoia Institute's Peter Pearce outside the Westside Young People's Centre on Monday 14th March. Photo by Chris Yeoh.
Director of London’s VRU, Lib Peck, said:
“We know the support that our youth workers give a young person can be life-changing and I’m really pleased that we’ve been able to secure funding to support them to deliver specialised, targeted support for the young people in our city who need it most.
“The Your Choice programme demonstrates our commitment to working with partners across London to help promote and connect young people with support and positive opportunities to help them realise and fulfil their potential.
“The VRU is determined to take action to bring about long-term change for young people and communities affected by violence and its undeniable causes – poverty, deprivation and lack of opportunity.”
“The young people in most need of therapeutic support are currently the least likely to receive it. The terrible impact of violence affecting young people is being felt in every single borough in the capital.
“Receiving funding from Home Office and YEF to deliver Your Choice demonstrates that this work is a national priority. Working with the VRU, borough children’s services are tailoring the programme so it reaches those in most need and really makes a difference across all of London’s communities.”
Bipin Khanal, member of the VRU’s Young People’s Action Group, said:
“It’s really important that young people’s voices, views and ideas are heard as part of the solution to tackling violence and promoting opportunities in our communities. The Your Choice programme is a really positive way to offer targeted support for young people who need it most and it’s really good that the Young People’s Action Group were able to scrutinise the development and implementation of the programme to ensure it is as impactful as possible. “
Karla Goodman, LIIA Practice Lead, said:
“Your Choice is an innovative and empowering programme, being delivered in every London borough, which seeks to reduce the cycle of youth violence. Young people will be supported by a dedicated coach to achieve their goals whilst learning new skills to support their health and wellbeing. By upskilling youth practitioners and young people in CBT tools and techniques, the Your Choice programme provides a powerful addition to adolescent services, helping this group of vulnerable young people to stay safe”.
Councillor Kamaljit Nagpal, Ealing Council cabinet member for a fairer start, said:
“Ealing is very happy to be involved in the Your Choice programme. Our Youth Justice Service will be the first team to be trained as Your Choice Coaches and to adopt a Cognitive Behavioural Therapy approach to supporting young people and their families. That training will then be spread to a wider range of staff in the council and local organisations working with young people.
“Your Choice is very aptly named, as it empowers children and young people through positive activities and behavioural tools to reduce the cycle of violence. I look forward to finding out more about the programme and meeting some of those taking part as it progresses.”
Peter Pearce, Metanoia Institute, said:
"We are really pleased to be collaborating on the innovative Your Choice Programme for young people at risk of violence in Ealing. The programme aims to empower and support both youth practitioners and young people most in need, offering positive relationships and activities to help reduce the cycle of violence. We will be evaluating how this programme can be sustained to enable lasting changes and support for young people locally."
For more information on Your Choice, visit https://liia.london/liia-programme/https-liia-london-your-choice
 Dept of Health / NHS England 2015 Future in Mind and Khan, L. (2016) Missed Opportunities Centre for Mental Health.
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- 16 March 2022