ACCESS (MAV Counselling & Mentoring)

When Mothers Against Violence started in 1999 there was little understanding about the isolation victims of crime in the inner city of Manchester felt. It was during this time that Mothers in the community took a stand against the acts of violence.  There were a number of gangs operating in the area; street violence which sadly included a high volume of gun crime murders, was at an alarming level. The violence led to the area being dubbed Gunchester. In 2002 the inner city of Manchester  was recorded to have nine unsolved gang-related murders at one time. The police were finding it hard to manage problems; much of this was due to the fear of gangs and at times a fear of the police. As a result witnesses often failed to come forward. This left many victims of such crimes feeling fear and shame and lead to them suffering in silence. Often when MAV volunteers went out to visit families after a murder or serious violent attack, families would often openly speak to us. Many of these  families would still not speak to the police even after our intervention. Many of the bereaved families seemed to find it easier talking with those people who had personal experience of their situation. Other helpful services like Victim Support found it harder to engage with victims in the inner city. MAV started peer support groups for the victims of those who had lost family members or been victims to violence in the inner city. This lead to volunteers becoming qualified counsellors and mentors which then lead to a service for victims, from victims. The peer support approach encouraged recovery and also provided understanding and safety for many of those who took part.  MAV also worked with Greater Manchester Police and the Home Office to help improve community relationships with public services. As a result of this early intervention by MAV our support service developed and has now become known as;

Active Community Counselling & Emotional Support Service Programme (ACCESS Programme).

  • ACCESS Programme provides support for those who have been affected by anti-social behaviour, murder, aggression and mental health issues.
  • ACCESS Programme gives easier access to a qualified counsellor for those living in the inner city areas of Manchester. Our counsellors have experience and training in issues related to trauma, violent death, and mental health.
  • ACCESS Programme is a combination of services which provide Therapeutic and Cognitive behavioural support for those in the inner city of Manchester who have suffered as a result of social issues, which include gun crime, knife crime, anti-social behaviour and mental health issues. We offer a wide range of services to individual, business and public services.
  • ACCESS Programme provides support for those who may find it hard to access public services due to finance, fear or stigma.
  • ACCESS Programme provides group work which includes Peer Support, our qualified therapists and counsellors are members of The British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy giving clients the confidence of many years of training and expertise.
  • ACCESS Programme offers a friendly, personal, professional and confidential support to people who need that little extra. Whether it is in your personal or professional life
  • ACCESS Programme provides you with the help you require. Our qualified Counsellors structure sessions to satisfy your specific needs and requirements giving both a personal and comfortable environment.

The one-to-one mentoring service the  ACCESS Programme provides allows privacy to those people who need support and advice by qualified mentors. MAV’s mentors have experience in areas such as getting out of gangs, mediation, parenting support, relationship support, behavioral support, bereavement and mental health. MAV also signpost to other services within the area that offer specialised support and guidance. The mentoring service takes referrals from youth offending teams and schools who are dealing with children and young people who need additional behavioral support. The mentoring service provided by the ACCESS Programme has a focus on young black males. Over 90% of  victims of gun crime in the inner city of Manchester have been of black origin, many having duel heritage. There is priority need for support for young males in this category. The experience of our volunteers and support staff suggests a lack of positive male role models have contributed to these young males getting into gang activity. In more recent years we have seen a rise in young girls getting involved with gangs we have completed work with schools in the local area providing support and guidance for girls involved with gangs and anti-social behaviour.

 The ACCESS Programme  is lead by Mr Ian C. Swanston BSc (Hons) Professional Counselling Degree  

Ian lost his brother to murder in August 1999. Ian’s younger brother was gunned down in the inner city of Manchester. The killer was never found. Ian and his family have never been able to receive criminal justice. As well as being a qualified counsellors Ian is trained in three parenting programmes and is an accredited Triple P Parenting Practitioner. He provides parenting support and training for parents who are experiencing challenging behaviour from their children. Ian has also completed training and received certificates in areas such as Bereavement skills, Professional and Ethical Issues, Supporting People with Depression, Mental Health, Mindfulness Practice and Traumatic Death. He has a commitment to his personal development and believes this is vital to providing ongoing support for those victims of crime. Ian has worked with a number of support services across Greater Manchester and brings a vast amount of personal and professional knowledge to the MAV Team. Ian was appointed chairperson of Mothers Against Violence in January 2009 just before the organisation received charity status.  The ACCESS Programme has recently received support from Victim Support.

The ACCESS Programme understand We all experience difficulties or challenges which we find hard to cope with. In many cases help from those around you such as family, friends, church and social groups can be all that is needed to help us understand and overcome life’s hurdles. There maybe times when we need some extra help and assistance. The ACCESS Programme understands sometimes the hardest part of seeking help is admitting that we require any help at all. Should you feel that you are at a stage when you may benefit from professional support, please contact us for a personal and confidential discussion.

Mobile Number: 07984066771

Office Number: 0161 226 8134

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