HRH The Princess Royal visited the Wolverhampton Violence Reduction Service earlier this month in her capacity as Patron of Catch22. Her Royal Highness spoke to staff in both strands of the service – the Community Team and the Resettlement Team.
- The Community Team provides early intervention measures for young people aged 10-17 years who are at risk of being drawn into or harmed by gangs, and it supports entrenched gang members to move on through viable alternatives. Staff work with families, with other agency professionals, and in a child’s school, preventing school exclusions wherever possible.
- Her Royal Highness also met with staff from the Resettlement Team, which is funded directly by the West Midlands Violence Reduction Unit. The Resettlement team work with 18–30-year-olds, who are in prison and have been affected by gangs and/or have been sentenced for violent offences that have involved a weapon.
Their approach is based on the research completed by the Catch22 Dawes Unit (Gangs in Prison: The nature and impact of gang involvement among prisoners) and focuses on offering alternatives to the status and safety provided by gangs, which has been shown to be more effective than the suppression-only approaches used in many prisons. To ensure relational continuity, the same project worker meets the individual at the gate on the day of release and supports them thereafter in the community.
West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner, Simon Foster reflected on the visit:
“It was a pleasure to meet with The Princess Royal and discuss the work carried out by Catch22 that we have funded through the Violence Reduction Unit.
“Our resettlement programme is helping those leaving prison have the best opportunities to get their lives back on track.”