Mayor of London visits St Mary's Hospital programme to tackle youth gang violence

The Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has visited Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust’s major trauma centre at St Mary’s Hospital to learn more about the Youth Violence Intervention Programme, which aims to tackle youth gang violence.

The project brings specialist youth workers from Redthread, an organisation that has experience helping children and young people change their risky lifestyles, into the major trauma centre to connect with the victims and perpetrators of violence.

During the tour the mayor found out more about the work being done to help young victims of violence. He was shown round the St Mary’s A&E resuscitation area and the major trauma centre by Dr Tracey Batten, chief executive of Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust and Dr Asif Rahman, consultant in adult and paediatric emergency medicine.

The programme engages with young people involved in dangerous behaviour when they are most vulnerable, for example, while being treated after being assaulted, providing a critical opportunity. This ‘teachable moment’, when the young person needs help and may be willing to engage, is an invaluable chance to enable these individuals to make positive steps away from their current lifestyles. Once a relationship has been built, the youth worker team offers a variety of on-going support based on the varied needs of young people.

Also visiting the hospital was Sophie Linden, Deputy Mayor for Policing and Crime. She led a roundtable discussion bringing together police, health and community safety professionals to discuss the barriers and opportunities for tackling knife crime in London.

The Youth Violence Intervention Programme is the result of a partnership between Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, Redthread and Imperial College Healthcare Charity who has helped partners and funders work together to make the initiative possible. It is joint-funded by Imperial College Healthcare Charity; the Home Office; the boroughs of Ealing, Hammersmith and Fulham, Kensington and Chelsea, and Westminster; Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime (MOPAC); The North West London Major Trauma Network; and other third sector partners.

Dr Asif Rahman, consultant in adult and paediatric emergency medicine at the Trust, said: “I welcomed the opportunity to show the Mayor of London the work that we are doing in partnership with Redthread to help young people who have been victims of violent crime and gang-related sexual violence and exploitation.”

“We in the hospital are in the ideal position to utilise that teachable moment when these young people come in as emergencies and are willing to listen and engage. We want to help them break that cycle of violence and stop them being involved in potentially damaging behaviour to themselves and others. We want to form a bridge from the hospital into the community, supporting these young, often vulnerable people when they leave the hospital and hopefully make them stick with community programmes to ensure they leave a life of violence and hopefully don’t come back in a worse of state”

Ian Lush, chief executive of Imperial College Healthcare Charity, said: “We are proud to support our partner charity, Redthread, through our St Mary’s Hospital Major Trauma Centre Appeal. The Youth Violence Intervention Project is making a huge impact on young people’s lives in London and most importantly, the team are transforming young people’s futures.

“We have also recently given a grant of £3.2 million to improve the facilities at St Mary’s A&E. This work will bring the environment up to a standard which better reflects the very high quality of the clinical care provided. We are pleased the charity has been able to make this significant investment in the Trust’s facilities.”