A new campaign to help young people in Greater Manchester stay clear of violence and achieve their future launches today (Tuesday 22 March) by the city-region’s Violence Reduction Unit (VRU).
The ‘violence isn’t me…I am greater’ campaign, aimed at 10–17-year-olds, has been created with young people from across Greater Manchester. Workshops, focus groups and surveys have given young people a voice to say they stand against violence and a chance to show what is important to them in life - their values - and their hopes for the future.
Violence can have devastating consequences on young people, families and communities, including stopping young people from achieving their goals in life.
The new campaign shows that young people have so much more to gain and can thrive in our city-region by not getting involved in violence.
Young people’s continued involvement in the development of the campaign over the past 12 months has shaped the final design, which will see their personal values and hopes promoted to inspire the young people of Greater Manchester. This has included focus groups with members of the Greater Manchester Youth Combined Authority, community and youth groups and schools.
Real-life examples of young people achieving their goals in life, alongside information of how to achieve your future and how to get help if you’re experiencing violence, will support young people to make positive decisions and achieve their aspirations.
One of the young people involved in creating the campaign and its positive messaging, said:
“I just love the campaign - reading this just gives me confidence to go harder and strive towards being the best in anything I do.”
The campaign is part of Greater Manchester’s community-led approach to tackling serious violence. Led by Greater Manchester’s Violence Reduction Unit, it brings together Greater Manchester Police (GMP), Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA), the National Probation Service as well as health, education and youth justice services and the VCSE sector to address the underlying causes of violent crime and to work together to prevent it.
Bev Hughes, Deputy Mayor of Greater Manchester for Policing, Crime, Criminal Justice and Fire, said: “The new ‘violence isn’t me…I am greater’ campaign builds on our community-led approach to tackling serious violence in Greater Manchester and preventing the devastating consequences that violence can have on our young people, their families and communities.
“We want to stop violence from happening in the first place, but to also provide support to those who may already be involved in violence - it’s never too late to make a positive change.
“The campaign works to help young people make positive decisions and provide them with the opportunity and motivation to live violence free lives.
“Importantly, by involving young people in shaping this campaign from the start, their values, aspirations, and what is important to them is front and centre. I want to thank all the young people who have been involved in this project so far – your voices have been strong and invaluable.
“Everyone has a role to play in preventing violence and for young people, living by their values, inspiring others and working towards their future, they are playing their part.”
Amour, a member of the Greater Manchester Youth Combined Authority and Oldham Youth Council, was one of many young people who participated in the workshops to help shape the campaign.
Amour said: “I’ve enjoyed being part of this project, exploring how crime and violence affects people in different ways. It is important to prevent young people getting involved in violence because it allows us, as the ‘future’ to know what our ambitions could be. It also allows us to see that there is guidance, support and help out there which can lead to unity and togetherness in our community, and help young people achieve their life goals.”
The launch of the campaign follows the publication of Greater Manchester’s Serious Violence Action Plan in June 2020, which highlighted that from 2015 to 2018, knife crime in the city-region almost doubled, a statistic broadly in line with the UK-wide picture. Admissions to Greater Manchester hospitals with injuries caused by weapons involved in incidents of violent crime also increased during the same period.
However, the most recent data sets suggest a decrease of 16% for all age knife-related hospital admissions between April 2018 and March 2020. In addition, there were nearly 1,000 attendances at Greater Manchester A&E departments from under 18s as a result of assault, including nearly 90 as a result of assault with a knife for the same period. In 2020, there were nearly 9,500 victims of violence or robbery aged under 18 reported to GMP.
The campaign has three phases, with the first phase being the launch of the website Iamgreater.co.uk and digital advertising.
The website provides information to help young people achieve their aspirations, to find out what activities and clubs there are in their local area, and by exploring work and career opportunities. The website also provides information on how young people can safely challenge all forms of violence, to prevent harmful attitudes and behaviours, and to signpost to further help and support.
If you are a young person, or a youth or community group, and you’d like to get involved in the campaign, please get in touch via Iamgreater.co.uk.
Article Published: 23/03/2021 13:16 PM