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Glasgow City Council

Encouraging signs as Govan follows suit in tackling youth offending through joint and targeted approach by community planning partners

The scheme - known as Operation Modulus - which was set up to tackle crime and anti-social behaviour in Gorbals, has proved so successful that Govan Housing Association and other agencies in the Glasgow Community Planning Partnership have embarked on a similar project.

Eleven young men aged 16 to 25, from the local Govan area, who were identified as offenders or on the cusp of offending were invited to take part in a training and work experience programme during October and November.

Taking a proactive stance on preventing anti-social behaviour and youth offending in the area, these issues were also highlighted in a recent resident satisfaction survey by Govan Housing Association.

As with the original project the aim was to adopt a multi-agency, holistic partnership approach including a range of community planning partners such as council, police, fire and rescue, those with a remit for employability and youth offending and local community organisations.

The partners looked to address the needs of these young people based on their individual circumstances and aspirations and maximise the opportunity for a range of organisations to support them at the same time, trying to make the greatest impact to their lives and indeed the local community.

Community organisations' help at the identification stage was invaluable as in some cases they had a greater awareness of particular personal circumstances that would help the tailored approach.

The original eight week programme that included four days of work experience and one day training, has been extended through support from Community Safety Glasgow's ChoiceWorks programme. This project is supported by the Big Lottery Fund and European Social Fund and was launched in 2009. It's aimed at young people living in Glasgow who are not in education, employment or training; and have an offending history. The partners used this programme to provide the young people with a nine-week paid work placement to gain some additional work experience.

On training days Community Safety Glasgow and Job Centre Plus have held sessions on crime intervention, drugs and alcohol awareness, CV building, general literacy, digital literacy and interview preparation. This day has also allowed other agencies to engage with the boys and provide them with the support they need.

One example of work experience has seen the boys create an advert for the local area with the organisation Street Cones. Street Cones is a team of creative artists with experience of going through the criminal justice system, who present life-changing theatre and film making projects that make a positive difference to young people.

Govan Housing Association also offered work placements in their repair and estate management 'Home Team' where the young people have been involved in repaving backcourts, landscaping, gardening, shadowing tradesmen and recently participating in a backcourt improvement programme.

Indeed, the young people themselves have helped shaped the training programme. They were particularly keen to carry on work experience with the housing association rather than be moved around different organisations; they appreciated the stability of working with the same people, many of them local, and making a difference in their community.

They have also received recognition and positive feedback from members of the local community that has had a marked improvement on their willingness and commitment to the project.

Staff and in particular the Home Team at Govan Housing Association have also benefited, in terms of personal development, from taking on mentoring roles with the boys.

Fiona McTaggart, Chief Executive of Govan Housing Association said: "The value of the Govan programme has been the commitment of partners and the flexibility to be creative and shape the work programme around the needs of the young people who have engaged with it.  

"We appreciate that it is down to us to use our partnership relations productively and to link in with the right partners who can offer constructive support and funding.  For instance thanks to Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO), we are now able to offer all of the young people a full-time job with us for six months and we are hopeful that we will find placements or training for future programmes also."

"We see this being a rolling programme of training and work placements, hopefully leading to full time employment or further education opportunities. These young people have made a positive difference in their community and on their fellow peers who we hope will get involved with future programmes. They have been a great asset to Govan Housing Association and I look forward to seeing their progress and development over their time with us here"

Of the eleven young people from Govan who began the programme, seven have fully engaged and remain committed to the programme.  A further three have dropped in and out of the programme through various stages but are beginning a programme of engagement with Community Safety Glasgow and one returned to employment.

One of the group Liam McMillan (age 16 ) said: "I enjoy working in Govan Housing Association as it's a new experience for me. I like all the jobs I have been doing here. I would love a job here to put a bit back into my community and keep the streets of Govan tidy."

This was echoed by Kevin O'Donnell (age 25 ):"Govan Housing Association is definitely the best job I've ever had. I really enjoy doing things for my own community as I've grown up here. Using tools is what I love doing and the Govan Housing Association HOME team are brilliant to work with."

Bailie Fariah Thomas, chair of Govan local area partnership, said: "Operation Modulus was a brilliant example of community planning in practice; Scottish Fire and Rescue working with other partners such as Community Safety Glasgow, Police Scotland and local organisations addressing youth disorder issues in a positive way.

"Govan Housing Association has taken a lead to drive forward Govan's version of the scheme. This is giving a second chance to young people - an opportunity to gain new skills and recognise what they have to give to the local community. And they have really grabbed the opportunity. Well done to all the people involved."

The impact on the local community has not gone unnoticed by the housing association with no one currently engaged with the programme reoffending during its period.




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