Deputy Mayor Kate Green and Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham sit together on bright-pink plastic chairs watching something out of shot
Safer Stronger

New Deputy Mayor backs community-led violence reduction programmes


Greater Manchester’s new Deputy Mayor, Kate Green, has joined Mayor Andy Burnham in visiting one of a number of community-led programmes helping to tackle serious violence across the region.

On Thursday 12 January, Deputy Mayor, Kate Green – who took office this week - and Mayor, Andy Burnham, visited Newman College RC in Oldham to observe a session delivered to pupils by one of Greater Manchester Violence Reduction Unit’s partners, on the consequences of crime and how decisions young people make can shape their lives.  

The session was delivered as part of the Violence Reduction Unit’s (VRU’s) community-led programmes initiative, by organisation 1Message and their founder and CEO Matthew Norford, a former gang member.

1Message offers 1-1 mentoring services for young people who are at risk of, or engaged in anti-social and criminal activity, particularly in relation to gang related crimes. They work within primary and high schools offering workshops, motivational talks and education around crime and the consequences of actions and how to stay safe. 1Message aims to encourage, engage, and empower young people to take responsibility for their lives in a productive way.

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. To date, the VRU has invested over £1.6 million in community-led programmes across Greater Manchester. Programmes are currently live in Manchester, Salford, Bury, Bolton, Oldham, Tameside, Wigan and Trafford, and will be in the remaining boroughs soon.

Over the course of late 2021 and 2022, the Mayor and former Deputy Mayor Bev Hughes visited the community-led programmes in Manchester, Salford, Bolton, Bury and Oldham. They met with local organisations that deliver the programmes of work and members of the community and young people who they support. This approach is something the incoming Deputy Mayor is keen to build on.

Deputy Mayor for Policing, Crime, Criminal Justice and Fire, Kate Green, said: “We’ve all seen the devastating consequences of violent crime in communities across Greater Manchester and the rest of the country and in my role as Deputy Mayor I am committed to continuing the work through the Violence Reduction Unit to prevent violence and keep people safe.

“I’m delighted to have seen first-hand here in Oldham, the type of sessions that are happening across Greater Manchester to better educate, inform and engage with young people around the impacts these crimes have on individuals, families and our communities. Importantly, we are working with people like Matthew Norford with the lived experience to help young people understand the importance of making positive life choices.” 

Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham said: “The preventative work being delivered though our Violence Reduction Unit, in partnership with our communities across the city-region, is a vitally important way of making Greater Manchester a safer place for all.

“I’m really looking forward to working with our new Deputy Mayor Kate Green on building on the hugely impactful programmes being delivered to prevent these awful crimes being committed.”

Matthew Norford, founder and CEO of 1Message, said: “I am really pleased that I am able to use my life experiences to help other young people that might be in difficult situations or involved in serious violence.

“I am working with young people across Greater Manchester to build self-esteem, realise their potential and move away from crime and violence.” 

To find out more about the work of the Greater Manchester VRU visit Homepage - Greater Manchester Violence Reduction Unit ( or follow @gm_vru on Twitter and Instagram.



Article Published: 12/01/2023 14:30 PM