Redbridge Council first in UK to launch family therapy for young people at risk of joining gangs

The Families are Forever programme which gives therapy to families with at risk young people launche

The Families are Forever programme which gives therapy to families with at risk young people launched this week. Picture: Redbridge Council - Credit: Archant

A ground-breaking new family therapy service aimed at preventing and reducing youth crime across the borough has been launched by Redbridge Council.

Families are Forever, the first programme of its kind in the country, will have specialist clinical therapists working with eligible families where young people are deemed at risk of becoming involved in gangs and help them overcome negative patterns of behaviour.

The service, which launched on Tuesday, January 28 after securing a £781,055 grant in October, is the first time it will be delivered outside of the US.

Councillor Jas Athwal, leader of Redbridge Council, said: "Tackling crime is not just about policing and arresting - it is also about preventing and deterring from a very early stage. If we can deter young people from gangs and crime, we'd be securing their futures and stopping a generation of our children from deviating down a dark path.

"We are now the first council in the whole country to offer this pioneering service to families at risk."

Councillor Khayer Chowdhury said the innovative programme is in line with the authority's work with Box Up Crime and St Giles Trust to keep young people away from a life of crime.

Cllr Chowdhury said: "We made a commitment to help reduce violent crimes in whatever capacity we can as a council. From supporting covert operations targeting drug gangs to offering routes out of prostitution - we are trying."

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The borough will be working in partnership with Cambridgeshire company Family Psychology Mutual to deliver the bespoke therapy programme. The £781,055 grant is the first of its kind to be awarded to the borough by the Youth Endowment Fund - an independent organisation founded with a £200m Home Office investment as part of the government's Serious Violence Strategy.

Cllr Elaine Norman, cabinet member for children and young people, said deterring young people from gangs was a top priority.

She said: "We want to give our young people the best opportunities and starts in life, as well as the support they need when they need it.

"This innovative new service will help us provide the support and expertise needed to intervene, where young people have been identified as being at risk of gang involvement and exploitation."

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