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  • Led by Redthread, a charity that supports vulnerable young people in crisis, in partnership with Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust and University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust.
  • Scaled up a successful London-based youth violence intervention programme to three sites in the Midlands.
  • Specialist youth workers provided tailored and holistic support and advocacy to young people who attended hospital because of a violence-related injury in Nottingham and Birmingham, with the aim of empowering them to lead healthy, safe and productive lives away from cycles of violence.
  • Project ran from March 2018 to March 2020.

Every year, thousands of young people find themselves in emergency departments as victims of serious youth violence. Redthread is a charity working in health settings that supports young people often in crisis and with complex needs. Their Youth Violence Intervention Programme provides specialist youth workers embedded in hospital emergency departments and has revolutionised the support available to young people affected by violence and exploitation. 

The approach is based on the idea of the ‘teachable moment’; that the moment of intense crisis, when the young person is nursing a serious injury in the daunting environment of a busy hospital, can be a catalyst for pursuing positive change.

Youth violence is a national problem, and Nottingham and Birmingham were identified as areas that could also benefit from the programme.

More than 50 clinical champions were engaged to support the programmes, and over 500 community practitioners and hospital staff, across multiple hospitals, received training in identifying and supporting young people affected by violence and exploitation. 

Between March 2018, when the service went live in Nottingham (the Birmingham sites went live in July 2018), and March 2020, 863 young people were supported across three sites. Of the young people supported, 90% did not return to hospital for a violence-related injury in the following year. 

Six months after the intervention, 100% of the young people supported said they felt as safe or safer than they had before the incident that brought them to hospital.

The Health Foundation funding also enabled three evaluations to be completed: the qualitative ‘adoption and spread’ evaluation on scaling the intervention in other areas; the quantitative evaluation on the impact of the programme on re-attendance and re-injury rates, showing young people who engaged in the full programme were 51% less likely to re-attend than those who didn’t; and a cost benefit analysis showing that for every £1 spent there was £4.90 economic and social benefit.

Contact information

For more information about this project, please contact John Poyton at Redthread.

About this programme

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