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VRN Hope Hack Seeks Young Offenders’ Views

Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland Violence Reduction Network (VRN) and partner organisations will be seeking the views and experiences of young people at a youth offending institution in the first consultation event of its kind organised in the UK.

Workshops discussing mental health, education and access to services will be held at HMYOI Werrington in Staffordshire involving inmates aged 15 to 18 as well as VRN colleagues from the West Midlands, Greater Manchester and London and other youth-focused organisations including UK Youth, NCS Trust and Ingeus.

The event, known as a Hope Hack, is part of a national initiative designed to engage young people in finding solutions to a fairer society and safer communities.

Feedback from all the events will be collated into the ‘Reimagined’ report due to be published later this year by the Hope Collective - a powerful partnership between the Damilola Taylor Trust and a wide range of other public and voluntary bodies. Shortly after he was murdered in 2006 aged just ten years old, Damilola Taylor said his ambition was to change the world. In 2020, The Hope Collective was established to keep that legacy alive, inspire hope in new generations of young people and give them a voice in how to create real change for young people and communities across the UK.

Hope Hack youth engagement events continue to be held across the UK but this is the first to be organised in a young offenders institution

Grace Strong, Strategic Director of the Violence Reduction Unit and also chair of The Hope Collective’s national VRU group said: “Violence reduction networks and units across the UK are working to prevent and reduce serious violence by tackling its root causes.

Margaret Adams Chair of the REIMAGINED projects CJS workgroup says “Too many young people are falling through gaps in services in the community and ending up in custodial settings. 65% of young people we work with in Prisons are neurodivergent, which led to judgemental exclusions impacting their self-worth and confidence from very young ages. Creating a ‘safe space’, making time to listen to these young people’s experiences and helping them to understand and manage their differences can have a huge impact on improving their futures.”

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