The Minister for Preventing Abuse and Exploitation met members of AIR Sports Network to discuss their ongoing work with Brent Borough Council to reduce gang-related violence.
The borough of Brent has been an active part of the Government’s Ending Gang and Youth Violence programme since 2012, working with AIR Sports Network to provide alternatives to offenders who may be vulnerable to further offending.
AIR Sports Network is a voluntary sector organisation, which works with gang members to reduce reoffending in the borough, by giving former offenders a constructive way to spend their time, as well as becoming physically fit and active.
Their work has had local success with AIR Sports Network reporting that up to 65 per cent of its clients do not reoffend while part of their programme. Alongside a sports and fitness programme, clients are provided with mentors to support a long-term programme of rehabilitation back into the community and employment.
The Home Office launched a new Ending Gang Violence and Exploitation policy last week, which includes providing meaningful alternatives to gangs as one of six new national priorities.
Minister for Preventing Abuse and Exploitation Karen Bradley said:
Gang violence and exploitation can devastate communities, leaving vulnerable young people trapped in a cycle from which it is difficult to escape.
I was really impressed by the work of AIR Sports Network, which is providing a real alternative to being in a gang through rehabilitating offenders back into their communities with mentoring, training and sport.
It is through Government, councils and charities working together with organisations, such as AIR Sports Network, that we can end this form of violence and exploitation.
Last week, it was also announced that the successful ongoing Home Office Ending Gangs and Youth Violence programme, which has already helped 43 areas in England with tailored support and advice from a network of over 100 specialists, would be expanded into nine new areas.