Sadiq Khan has announced a £1.2 million investment in 200 youth workers, via the Violence Reduction Unit (VRU).
This funding will further develop the youth workers’ leadership skills, their management of conflict involving young people and to offer support to those affected by violence and trauma.
Sadiq Khan, the Mayor of London, said: “Tackling violence and building a safer London for everyone is my top priority as Mayor.
“This has been made harder by Government austerity, which has resulted in 730 fewer youth workers and more than 130 youth centres close over the last decade.”
The impact of Government cuts to the youth work sector between 2011 and 2019 has coincided with an increase in violence.
The Rise Up programme, which is delivered by London Youth, aims to give youth workers more skills, confidence and experience to be more effective in supporting young people in London.
The VRU has already supported almost 270 youth workers in nearly every London borough, with more than 90% who completed the Rise Up programme feeling well equipped to manage conflict.
Sally Bartolo, a Rise Up graduate and member of the VRU’s Youth Practitioner’s Advisory Board, said: “Rise Up was a great opportunity for me – it helped develop my leadership skills, confidence and youth work practice.
“I joined the VRU’s Youth Practitioners’ Advisory Board to help push forward the agenda for youth workers in London and the incredibly important work we do.”
The Mayor set up the VRU to tackle violence that is rooted in prevention and early intervention and, alongside the Rise Up programme, the VRU invests in embedding youth workers in police custody suites and hospital sites across London.
Since the VRU was set up in 2019, there has been a 25% reduction in homicides, a 15% fall in knife injury and a 26% reduction in robbery.
A government spokesperson said: “This government believes every young person should have the best start in life.
“We are ensuring there is a pipeline of qualified youth workers through the bursary programme, with over 2,000 bursaries funded to date.
“In September, we announced additional funding of £800,000 to support 500 more adults to undertake youth work qualifications.”
Image Credit: Rehan Jamil from Flickr