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Hundreds helped to leave gangs by charity project which earns praise of minister

Around 200 of London’s most prolific young offenders have left their violent past behind in the last year.

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

Crime Prevention Minister

They were supported by a project which was today praised by a Home Office minister.

The SOS project run by the St Giles Trust charity helped scores of the capital’s most active gang members safely sever their links with criminality in 2013/14. The programme offers a range of services to hundreds of people each year, including providing support to relocate.

Crime Prevention Minister Lynne Featherstone visited St Giles’ base in Camberwell this week to hear about the success of SOS and the charity’s SOS+ scheme, an early intervention programme which aims to prevent young people from entering gang activity.

Both projects are delivered by ex-offenders who have turned their lives around and become trained caseworkers.

They told the Minister about their often extremely challenging work attempting to help young people from troubled backgrounds to break free from gang activity.

They also discussed the importance of early intervention to prevent people falling into gang activity in the first place, and specific approaches to help women and girls.

St Giles works with some of the priority areas in the capital which are involved with the government’s Ending Gang and Youth Violence programme. The programme has a network of more than 80 people with frontline experience of dealing with gangs, working with 43 of the worst affected areas of the country, including many in London.

Crime Prevention Minister Lynne Featherstone said:

It is very encouraging to see that hundreds of young lives are being transformed by vital projects such as the excellent SOS and SOS+ schemes run by St Giles Trust.

Intervening early to prevent young people getting dragged into gang activity has huge advantages for their lives, for society as a whole, and the public purse.

We are also absolutely clear that those who wish to leave gang violence behind should be helped to do so. Providing access to support from ex-offenders who have turned their lives around is an approach which is delivering real results.

Gang violence ruins young lives, devastates families and terrorises communities, and this government is committed to ending it.

Hundreds helped to leave gangs by charity project which earns praise of minister

St Giles has offices located in Southwark, Croydon, Ladbroke Grove and Hackney.

Its SOS project was launched in 2006 and is London’s largest gangs intervention scheme, with a team of 23 full-time staff and 10 volunteers.

Through SOS+, ex-offenders work in schools, colleges and community settings to deter young people considered at risk of becoming involved in gangs from doing so.

Published 18 December 2014