In 2010 Gangsline was commisioned to mediate between gang members in hospital following and increase in gang violence in East London. The aim was to descalate the conflict between rival gangs to prevent reprisals and further violence. During this process Gangsline identified the need to bridge the gap between young people involved in and affected by gang violence and the specialist services that could help them leave gang/street life. In Gangsline’s experience, our outreach workers found that young people were receptive to engagement in this environment and noted that there was an opportunity to reach those in need if the medical staff treating them had the knowledge of how to identity and approach young people involved in gangs and then refer them to the specialist support services before they are discharged.
Thus, the Neon project was piloted by Gangsline in 2020/21 and co-produced in partnership with Dr Kirby of the Bedford Hospital NHS Trust and Kimberly Lamb of Bedfordshire VERU (Violence and Exploitation Reduction Unit). The intention, that ‘gangs-trained' medical staff could become an identifiable beacon of help and hope for vulnerable young people caught up in street violence hence the use of the word Neon as staff can illuminate a path to a better life choices by signposting the local support services available to them.
The NHS Gangs Training aims to equip participants with a thorough appreciation of the factors that see young people become involved in serious youth violence and child and female sexual exploitation through gang membership and affiliation. Staff taking the course will increase their knowledge and understanding of the mind-sets of street gang members and/or perpetrators of serious youth violence.
The training session is unique in combining the experience and expertise of former gang members with the specialist knowledge of sociologists of urban disorder and youth offending. More specifically, the authentic, first-hand testimony of the trainer’s own experience with gang membership paired with content underpinned by cutting-edge academic research and knowledge of the scholarly literature around street gangs.
The course explores the typical environment of young street gang members and illustrates how it distorts their thinking processes, often prompting their withdrawal from mainstream education, training and employment. This helps practitioners identify the signs associated with street gang membership and understand its root causes.
The course is designed to achieve two principal aims:
There may be parts of this course that might make you feel uncomfortable, however the content is purely to give you a clear insight into the parallel world of street gangs and the impact it has on the young people involved.