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Team effort against serious violence intensifies

Natalie Baker-Swift, head of the VRP, and Kerrie Henton, principal of Stone Soup Academy

Natalie Baker-Swift, head of the Violence Reduction Partnership, with Kerrie Henton, Principal at Stone Soup Academy.

The campaign to tackle serious violence in Nottingham and Nottinghamshire intensified today as partner agencies came together to launch an even wider and stronger team approach.

Nottinghamshire Police and Crime Commissioner Caroline Henry hosted an event to launch the Violence Reduction Partnership – rebranding the former Violence Reduction Unit to recognise the increased involvement of partner agencies in working together on the issue.

It coincides with the start of the national Serious Violence Duty, which places a new legal requirement on a range of public sector organisations to share information locally to reduce incidents of violence, like knife and gun crime, and prevent loss of life.

It will build on the success of the work that is already happening in Nottinghamshire, which has seen 4,245 children and young people being supported by Violence Reduction Partnership interventions since 2020 – from diversionary and mentoring activities such as boxing coaching and access to music studios, to community outreach work, counselling and support with education and employment.

Commissioner Henry said: “The Serious Violence Duty is a game-changer as it brings even more organisations together, to share information and collaborate on the response to serious violence.

“The advantage of this is that there is more awareness of issues and trends across the city and county, people can call upon expertise from partners and – importantly – we don’t miss any opportunities to help people to break the cycle of violence.

“Often it is not just one intervention that puts a young person back on the right track – it is a complete package of support that helps them sustain a transformation. So the more agencies that are aware and involved in this, the better chance they have of success.

“We are fortunate here in Nottinghamshire to have a well-established partnership of agencies who are all working toward the same aim – to make Nottinghamshire safe and free from serious violence.

“Today’s rebranding of the Violence Reduction Partnership is a perfect opportunity to recognise the incredible work of our partners and how this work will strengthen even further with the Serious Violence Duty.”

Statutory partners, the community, voluntary sector and young people were invited to the event at Trent Vineyard, Lenton Lane, Nottingham, to celebrate achievements to date and define aspirations for the newly launched partnership.

One of the organisations that already works alongside the Violence Reduction Partnership is Stone Soup Academy, an award-winning, outstanding alternative provision that meets the needs of students aged 11 to 18 who have either been excluded or are at risk of exclusion from mainstream education.

It has recently benefitted from funding from the Violence Reduction Partnership for a parent engagement coach to engage with hard-to reach students, whose attendance is poorer and work with them and their families to address issues of antisocial behaviour and violence.

Kerrie Henton, Principal at the academy, said: “Working in partnership for us is essential to avoid the dangers of working in a silo. Partnership brings both strength and opportunities for our young people and their families and being able to partner with the Violence Reduction Partnership has brought great opportunities for us.

“In education, there can be a tendency to look inward and you can be in danger of limiting the possibilities for your young people, whereas at Stone Soup Academy we are really passionate about opening our door to collaboration with other participants across the city developing our cultural capital and increasing the breadth of our curriculum offer.

“Outstanding education is wider than purely curriculum subjects, it looks at the child and examines what their needs are and then puts in an education to meet these needs. We're able to address these needs through participation and collaboration.”

Natalie Baker-Swift, head of the Violence Reduction Partnership for Nottingham and Nottinghamshire, working to Caroline Henry, Police and Crime Commissioner, said working as a team was the best way to tackle serious violence in the long term.

“No one single agency can work to solve this issue. You can't arrest your way out of the problem,” she said. “Therefore, it's absolutely vital that with the new Serious Violence Duty, that organisations such as police, prisons and education, health and the local authorities work together to protect our children and young people.

“What's really important about the Serious Violence Duty is it provides leverage to actually get education more involved in this. That’s academies, alternative provision like Stone Soup, who do some really incredible work with children and young people to protect them and reduce the impact of serious violence and exploitation, but also across the board.

“By sharing data, sharing our knowledge of children and young people in Nottingham, particularly those who aren't in full-time education, that are at risk of being excluded, we can do more to ensure that they're getting the support of the continued provision that they need to achieve positive outcomes going forward.”

Posted on Tuesday 31st January 2023
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