MAV were pleased to give their views on the recent figures released showing a growing number of young people being involved in firearms offences. Figures released under the Freedom of Information Act showed there were 1,549 arrests of children for suspected crimes involving firearms, air weapons or imitation guns, including 506 charges brought by police. The figures were alarming however Ian Swanston a trustee and counsellor for MAV focused on the fact there is good work going on in local communities.
Ian said; Manchester inner city communities had seen a decline in the numbers of young people involved in gun related deaths. Often young people are being used by older young adults involved in gangs who are trying to hide weapons. Ian appeared on Good Morning Britain and Sky News, he was also featured in The Sun and Daily Mail newspapers on Tuesday 29th March 2016.
Patsy Mckie took part in the Digital Twitter Debate on the 22nd February 2016 with Labour MP Chuku Umunna. The debate took place online 10 days before the House of Commands debate on the 3rd March 2016. The debate was promoted with the twitter hashtag #StopYouthViolence. It was said to be the first debate of its kind just before a House of Commons debate. Chuku Umunna said; It was a fantastic initiative. Gangs and serious youth violence is such an important topic. Patsy was able to raise some key points in the debate, she twitted some of the key focus messages from MAV’s Making Children and Young People Matter project. Patsy was supported with tweets by MAV volunteers. Patsy said; The hour long debate was very productive and it was good to see many of the view shared by MAV are shared by others around the country.
MAV completed a number of successful projects in 2015 MAV are continuing to work with our local community in 2016 developing successful intervention that will better provide support to local young people and their families. This year MAV’s Making Children & Young People Matter (MCYPM) will be established as a Youth Project. All work with young people will be lead under the direction of the MCYPM. The project will be officially opened in July 2016 at the I Matter U Matter 2016 staged event On the 9th July 2016 in Manchester City Centre. However the project is already underway. Jessica Swanston is the current volunteer lead and she is leading meeting with volunteers to address sustainability and engagement issues. If you are interested in becoming involved with the project please contact Jessica using the contact details below.
MAV worked with Holy Name Primary School and the African Caribbean Care Group on an intergenerational project which concluded work that developed an understanding of the black contribution to the 1st world war. It also looked at the developing place of art within communities. A visit to Manchester Art Gallery with young and old local people was a success. One older members of the group said; It was a pleasure to learn from the young people they had so much to offer. It is good to know that MAV are doing such positive work engaging all ages of the community. MAV are keen to have MCYPM engaging young and old people with a number of projects over the next year. MAV are continuing to seek funding which will enable the ideas to move forward. MCYPM were also able to complete an project which provided an opportunity for a group of young people involved in dance to produce a dance sculpture. The sculpture was created using footprints in clay. The young people took part in all aspects of developing the sculpture. The focus on young people learning in different ways is a clear focus. MCYPM is supported with funding from a number of key funders. A group of young people aged between 12 and 16 visited the BBC Media City Salford to understand the opportunities available through the BBC’s apprentice scheme. We also took a group of primary aged children to the Derek Harper Foundries Ltd MAV are supporting parents who are finding it difficult engaging their young people with education, employment or training opportunities by ensuring we give young people living in the inner cities greater experiences. MCYPM understand that experiences provide knowledge and knowledge gives potential to local young people. The work we do can not be achieved without volunteer and funding support. MAV are pleased we have secured funding from the Greater Manchester Police Commissioners Youth Aspiration Fund. The funding has already provided young people with opportunities to develop their skills with activities that promote active learning. MAV have successfully managed to combined different funds together so that projects can meet the needs of more young people and still meet the desired outcomes of funders. Last year Lottery Funding was combined with WO Street Foundation Funding to support the start of the I Matter U Matter work with Young People and their relationship with their Fathers. The special project not only provided support for young people with mentoring, counselling and life coaching but also extended to providing support for many dads’ in the community.
The Let’s Involve Fathers Too (LIFT)
LIFT took a group of dad’s away for a weekend to explore the valuable role of fatherhood. The evidenced based Triple P Parenting programme was used as an underpin for the weekend. Fathers were offered Triple P one to one support after the introduction weekend was completed.
Ian Swanston lead the weekend and said; It was a total pleasure to bring fathers together for an all expenses paid weekend in which they looked at their role as fathers. We looked at the challenges fathers face in parenting separated from the mother of their child. We also addressed the challenge of parenting children with behaviour difficulties such as ADHD and Autism. It was good to have the experiences of our guest speaker Stanimir Kolev an interior designer who has experience of work with children with behaviour difficulties sharing his experiences of positive ways to build a productive engaging relationship with all children regardless of needs.
There was positive feedback from our evaluation after the weekend. The main criticism of the weekend was that two days was just not long enough.
One father said; The weekend made me realise we need to talk more about how we feeling about being dads. Many problems we have as fathers can be overcome once they are shared.
The weekend started with a trip to the venue for the weekend which was the Cedar Mount Hotel Huddersfield. We completed the first session which focused on establishing aims and objectives of the weekend. The group were able to share the reason they chose to attend.
LIFT was widely promoted on 3 local radio stations across Greater Manchester many of the attendees said they had heard about the event as a result of the radio advert or interviews which were completed by MAV Founder Patsy Mckie and MAV ACCESS Lead Ian Swanston. After introductions the group explored how to provide a positive learning environment. A series of short Triple P Positive Parenting Films were used to explore the topic. The group also explored the importance of creating a positive learning environment with children and young people. The group looked at Goal Setting & Encouraging Appropriate Behaviours. They then explored the need for realistic expectation for fathers in a changing world.
The session allowed fathers to set realistic goals for change on their return to family life. The group of dads were also encouraged to actively display appropriate behaviours when dealing with challenging children and young people.
The final day ended with a visit to Castle Hill Huddersfield. LIFT project will be having a follow up event in May 2016 if you would like to attend then please contact Ian Swanston by phone or email.
I Matter U Matter 12th July 2015
In the summer of 2015 we completed the I Matter U Matter Event. The Making Children and Young People Matter stage event provided another great opportunity for Mothers Against Violence to showcase the positive talents that come out of the inner city and the surrounding areas of Manchester. It is the 6th Year MAV have hosted the event and 2015 was the longest list of artist we accommodated. The 7 hour show was hosted by Volunteer and MAV’s new MCYPM Project Development Lead Jessica Swanston.
Many of the stage acts were preforming for 2nd, 3rd and even 4th year in a row. It was a celebration of the positive creative talent in areas such as Moss Side, Hulme, Longsight which are often only linked and associated with gun crime and anti-social behaviours. MAV are keen to show Greater Manchester the talent that is coming out of the inner city every year.
Many people ask why we invest in young people giving them opportunities like this. There are many reasons one is prevent children and young people from engaging in negative activities which increase anti social behaviours. One such problem promoting anti social behaviours is legal highs. One organisation which attended this years event MCYPM was the charity LIFE SHARE. Mothers Against Violence Trustee Julie Boyle works for LIFE SHARE. In a recent article featured in Quays News.
Julie Boyle said: “We are in a legal high epidemic, especially amongst the homeless community. “The use of spice is horrendous, it’s the worst thing to have ever hit the homeless community.” Legal highs have been a concern in Manchester after statistics revealed that there has been a 10-fold increase in police call-outs to incidents involving legal highs since 2013. We’ve had incidents where a lad was raped under the influence of legal highs, we’ve also had a 22-year-old man who had a heart attack because of it, “And another man who had second degree heart failure from smoking mamba (a type of legal high) and now he’s on medication for life.” Legal highs contain one or more chemical substances which produce effects similar to illegal drugs such as cocaine or ecstasy. They can be purchased for as little as £5 a gram and are sold in various newsagents and emporiums across Manchester. It’s illegal to sell them for human consumption, so they are marketed as incense, salt or plant food to get around the law and are sold under names such as ‘hipster’, ‘pandoras box’ and ‘mambo’. Then users smoke the substance either in a pipe or rolled in rizla paper. Although these substances are not controlled under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 they can be more dangerous than illegal drugs. This is because the chemical components in them and their physical and mental side effects are unknown. Even though the ingredients are on the back of the packets the paramedics are unsure of what the chemical compositions of all these ingredients actually are, which makes it incredibly hard for users to be, “If the government manage to ban one type of legal high, then the manufacturers simply change the chemical composition and it goes straight back on the streets and in the shops.
Like Mothers Against Violence, LIFESHARE aims to help vulnerable people in Manchester by offering them advice and guidance, Julie estimates that out of the 120 clients aged 16-25 LIFESHARE have seen regularly 95 per cent of them are using legal highs. Julie added: “On the enforcement side of it I think that the shops should be doing what they are supposed to be doing and shops found selling it to those smoking it should be closed. The enforcement needs to be tougher. The problem with legal highs are that there’s so much rubbish in it it’s out of control and they are so easy to get hold of.”
MAV were please to have LIFESHARE supporting last years MCYPM Event we hope they can join us for this years event scheduled for July 2016. MCYPM will continue promoting their chosen theme throughout the year. A key focus after the MCYPM City Centre Event will be to engage more young people to MAV Services. MAV are hopeful for the future. We want to continue doing the work we do supporting local schools, youth offending services, prisons and providing counselling and mentoring. Please kindly make a donation. Just click on the Donate Now link. This will take you to our donation page. Thank You for all your support.