Community organisations in Bolton met with the Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, and Deputy Mayor Bev Hughes last week (Friday 14th October), to discuss the impact of the community-led programme in Bolton.
The programme works with young people aged between 10 and 25 to develop projects and activities to address the underlying causes of violence and build aspirations and opportunities for young people. Activity includes targeted sports and arts activity, interactive workshops, and peer mentor sessions, and working with young people and their families to improve relationships.
Interventions have already been delivered to over 822 young people and community members through the Bolton partnership.
Bolton is one of seven boroughs in the city-region to receive funding from the VRU as part of its investment in community-led programmes, outlined in Greater Manchester’s Serious Violence Action Plan. All boroughs will have active community-led programmes by the end of the year.
The community-led programmes enable the VRU to work closely with communities to understand the strengths, challenges, and needs of the community and determine how local investments will be made.
The meeting was held at New Bury Community Learning Centre - re-opened as a result of close working between the Bolton partnership, Bolton Council and Bolton College, to allow for community use in the evenings and at weekends including youth work, dance classes, parent work and a boxing club.
During the visit to New Bury Community Learning Centre, Andy Burnham, Mayor of Greater Manchester said: “To see a community-led programme as established as the one in Bolton is really inspiring. Bolton is evidence of the fact that the community-led approach to violence reduction strengthens relationships and trust between the community and partners from the voluntary and statutory sectors, improves how information is shared and is used to inform decision making, and creates opportunities for integrated working.
“To hear such positive accounts from local young people who have been part of the programme is great, and to witness what can be achieved by local organisations working together is fantastic.
“I look forward to seeing the alliance in Bolton go from strength to strength.”
Bev Hughes, Greater Manchester’s Deputy Mayor for policing, crime, criminal justice, and fire, said: “The community-led programme in Bolton has provided new opportunities for young people who may have been affected by violence or at risk of violence. Young people have formed relationships with positive local role models and been able to engage in positive activity.
“The success of the programme in Bolton and other areas, has paved the way for the development of community-led programmes in every borough of Greater Manchester. We are committed to working with communities to prevent violence and the programme in Bolton is a great example of the success we can achieve together.”
Bolton Council’s Executive Cabinet Member for Stronger Communities, Councillor Mudasir Dean, said: “We want to give every young person in Bolton the best possible start in life, and a key part of that is making sure they can grow up in safe and secure communities.
“On projects like this, it is essential that we listen to residents in order to build a programme that meets the community’s needs while building on the strengths of the local area.
“The work in New Bury is an excellent example of what can be achieved when we work together, and we will continue to work closely with our partners to make the borough safer for everyone.”
Chantelle Nice, Community Engagement Officer, Elite Boxing, said: “Forming a partnership with other local organisations who really understand the community has allowed us to create even more positive outcomes for young people. The boxing club was developed from scratch using 7 local volunteers one with being professional boxer Jack Flatley who grew up in the area. He is an inspiration to the 150+ young people we have seen through the doors over the past year.
“Without the help from the partnership we wouldn’t have been able to hit the ground running the way we did. The alliance as a whole has been a massive support and the local community are starting to see the positive outcomes with feedback being there are less young people hanging about on the streets and they now have somewhere positive to go with something new to focus on.”
Greater Manchester’s VRU has worked with 10GM – a joint venture of VCSE sector infrastructure organisations in Greater Manchester, and StreetGames – an organisation that uses the power of sport to transform lives and broaden ambitions, to drive forward this programme of work.
To find out more about the work of the Greater Manchester VRU visit Homepage - Greater Manchester Violence Reduction Unit (gmvru.co.uk) or follow @gm_vru on Twitter and Instagram.
Article Published: 17/10/2022 12:57 PM