In a pilot scheme to reduce violent crime in the Greater Manchester area, four Oasis youth workers will be based at A & E departments in Bolton and Salford and at Manchester Royal Infirmary and Manchester Children’s Hospital.
Called ‘Navigators’, the youth workers will be touch with any young person arriving in A & E as a result of a knife attack or violent crime. The youth worker will support the young person for a period of 2-6 weeks, mentoring them and identifying their needs.
‘The aim is for the Oasis Navigator to help the person connect with local organisations that can best support them long term,’ explains Janey Berry, Oasis Regional Director. ‘Everyone has different needs, so we are working with a wide range of partners, including the Violence Reduction Unit (VRU), the police, NHS, Community Safety Partnerships and the voluntary sector to create a network of support.’
Knife related violence rising
‘Violent crime in the area has risen by 26% in Greater Manchester since June 2016,’ says Janet Berry. ‘There were 891 knife-related cases in 2019 resulting in injuries to young people.’
Greater Manchester Violence Reduction Unit (VRU) is funding the project on a 12-month trial basis and recruitment of the Navigators is underway, with an emphasis on employing local people. The Navigators will go live on 1 May 2021 and will be set up for remote delivery if pandemic restrictions prevent initial face-to-face support.
Following a competitive tender process in which seven providers submitted bids, Oasis were able to demonstrate the success of their existing youth services in Greater London hospitals, and a willingness to test new approaches for a Greater Manchester model.