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GANGs man presents voucher to school child

Innovative gang prevention sessions return to Knowsley

by Alison Cornmell

Knowsley’s Young People can take control of their future and achieve their full potential thanks to funding from the Knowsley Community Safety Partnership.

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 are already signed up to take part in the Get Away ‘N’ Get Safe Gangs Prevention Programme.

Continuing from the success of last year, where twenty Knowsley schools took part and completed the programme, it returns for a 2nd year so more school children can benefit.

The GANGS Programme was set up by James Riley in 2016 after working within the Criminal Justice system for more than 18 years as a Probation Officer, specialising in Urban Street Gangs and Organised Crime Groups. 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.”

Cllr Shelley Powell, Cabinet Member for Communities and Neighbourhoods added:

“We are committed to building better and safer communities for our residents. As well as working with partners including Merseyside Police to tackle crime and anti-social behaviour, we also support our borough’s young people, giving them the skills and knowledge it takes to avoid becoming involved in crime and so making our neighbourhoods safer in the long term.”

Last year, James visited St Marys & St Pauls C of E Primary School in Prescot. Iain Parks, Headteacher at St Marys & St Pauls said: “Our mission statement as a school is ‘Life in all its fullness through Learning and Love’, and there is no greater way of doing this than teaching children how to be safe.  James’s sessions not only taught them to be safe they also inspired the children into action for a safer community for all.  His positive but hard-hitting message enabled the children to engage on all levels and ensured that they understood the consequences of their actions.  The GANGS programme certainly hit home and when speaking to the children about their favourite parts of year 6, the week spent with James was certainly brought up. We are truly grateful for each and every session and look forward to working alongside the GANGS programme over the coming years.”

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.