We were asked to design and plan a fully-funded programme to engage with a group of young people who had been difficult to engage and who were causing ASB in the local shopping area.

We asked various agencies to refer young people who were causing, or were at risk of causing, ASB or nuisance in the local area.

We conducted two separate mailing shots.  One was sent to the young people concerned and one to their parents/carers, inviting the young people on to the project.  This was followed by a home visit to get consent forms signed.

For the initial engagement we invited the target group on to a London bus parked at the shops where the ASB had been a problem on two consecutive Saturday afternoons.  We used the bus as a base and held several workshops and activities.  This included a Bus ASB ‘role play’ using professional actors with the bus driver, sessions with transport police, drugs awareness worker, followed by fish and chips.

Having successfully achieved the initial engagement we designed a programme of positive activities for them.  We also continued family contact and home visits.

We then challenged the young people to cook a 3-course dinner for the Mayor of Havering and guests.  Using the local Catering College the young people planned the menu and practised cooking the dishes.  In March 2009 they cooked a 3-course dinner for the Mayor, Borough Commander and 21 other guests from the agencies who had referred them on to the Project.  One of the guests was from the Youth Task Force.

The dinner was a fantastic success with excellent evaluations from the agencies involved - something that is still talked about today.  This was an outstanding achievement by these young people and something of which they are extremely proud.

Other positive activities and residentials followed, with the original group mentoring younger people who have since been referred on to the Project.

Copyright © Mike Lane 2015

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