This week Cllr Shelley Powell, Knowsley’s Cabinet Member for Communities and Neighbourhoods attended an innovative gang prevention session for year 6 pupils at St Laurence’s Catholic Primary School in Kirkby.
Called GANGS (Get Away ‘n’ Get Safe), the session was delivered by James Riley, a former probation worker, specialising in Urban Street Gangs and Organised Crime Groups. Being delivered to schools across Knowsley, it is funded by the Knowsley Community Safety Partnership and gives the borough’s Young People the opportunity to take control of their future and achieve their full potential.
Cllr Shelley Powell, Knowsley’s Cabinet Member for Communities and Neighbourhoods said: “It was fantastic to attend James’s session and see, first-hand, the inspirational programme he is delivering to schools across our borough. Through his unique experience as a probation officer, he gives pupils an honest portrayal of gangs and the risks and dangers this lifestyle brings.
“Thank you to James for inviting me to attend his session, it’s fantastic to see how his work is encouraging pupils to have the confidence to make positive choices and contribute to making our communities safer for themselves and future generations.”
The GANGS Programme was set up by James Riley in 2016 after working within the Criminal Justice system for more than 18 years. Since then, James has delivered the sessions to more than 5000 participants from age 9-16 in schools, pupil referral units, alternative education providers and youth and community centres across England.
James Riley said: “Our mission is simple: to educate, inspire and empower young people to take control of their future and follow the right path. Through our programme we want to encourage young people to “get away and get safe” and motivate young people to achieve their full potential.”
James is also delivering sessions to schools across Knowsley including Westvale Primary School, Kirkby, St Marys & St Pauls C of E Primary School, Prescot, Halsnead Primary School, Whiston and Malvern Primary School, Huyton.
The GANGS Programme is being delivered in Knowsley schools thanks to funding allocated by the Knowsley Community Safety Partnership, on behalf of the Merseyside Violence Reduction Partnership.