Communities Take the Reins on Journey to Tackle Serious Violence

21st October 2021

Communities across Leeds are ‘Tackling Violent Crime Together’. An event at the Bridge Centre earlier today (21/10) reflected upon four co-production pilot projects, which delivered knife crime interventions for young people.

Co-production is the relationship between professionals and citizens, enabling them to plan and deliver support in collaboration.

Each took place over the summer and were funded by the West Yorkshire Violence Reduction Unit (VRU) in co-ordination with the Local Authority.

Gipton and Harehills, Burmantofts and Richmond Hill, Little London and Woodhouse were the focus of the projects.

They included Lessons4LifeStreet LeagueYouth Service: East North-East, and Youth Service: West North-West, which were all captured on video.

The West Yorkshire Deputy Mayor for Policing and Crime, Alison Lowe, visited ‘Youth Service West North-West’ in August and said:

“A total of 286 young people collectively benefited from these interventions within Leeds over an 8-week period in the summer.

“It was an absolute privilege to have been able to see some of this fantastic work in action and hear first-hand about the difference it was making.

“It was particularly satisfying for me personally, having grown up in one of the areas involved and now being in a position to lend my support.

“I want to let the young people know that they can achieve their aspirations if they follow the right path and I am a living, breathing proof.

“The event today, will really help us to take these projects forward in other communities and identify what more we can do to make a difference in partnership.”

Director of the West Yorkshire Violence Reduction Unit, Chief Superintendent Jackie Marsh spoke at the event and added:

“We know from existing research that the delivery of responses to local issues are more effective, if they are co-produced with communities, locally understood and owned.

“This is why we placed local residents at the heart of this work and why we held a series of meetings to agree the focus of these interventions.

“Supporting young people and their mental health, and education-based work to address knife crime were both clear objectives. Gang and Child Criminal Exploitation and employability for those who may be drawn into serious violence were also key themes raised.

“It is clearly evident in the videos, the level of trust that has now been built with the young people involved. The feedback from today’s event is really testament to that.

“This is absolutely crucial in engaging local support services and making in-roads that change behaviours and experiences relating to serious violence.

 “We’ll now take away the learning captured today for our next co-production event, which is planned for the Kirklees District.”