Young people across London taught to save lives as ‘StreetDoctors’ thanks to National Lottery funding
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- Young people across London taught to save lives as ‘StreetDoctors’ thanks to National Lottery funding
StreetDoctors, a youth social action charity that equips young people most at risk of violence with the skills to act in a medical emergency, has been awarded over £230,000 from The National Lottery Community Fund, the largest funder of community activity in the UK.
The National Lottery money will support the charity in training volunteer medical, nursing and paramedic students to run workshops where they teach young people in the most at-risk areas in the UK what to do if someone is bleeding or unconscious following a violent event. StreetDoctors partners with community organisations, including youth offending teams and pupil referral units to deliver these life-saving skills.
One of StreetDoctors’ key hubs is London – the charity currently has six London volunteer teams from Barts and The London School of Medicine, UCL, King’s College London, St. George’s Hospital, Imperial College London and the Nursing Department at City University.
Of the capital’s 2.8 million young people (under 25), three quarters (75%) live in an area classified as being in the worst 40% for crime[i]. Last year alone[ii], saw nearly 15,000 knife offences in London, compared to total of over 47,000 offences across the country[iii].
Last year StreetDoctors set up 145 training sessions across London, reaching 990 young people in the capital, including some of the boroughs with the highest rate of youth violence: Lambeth, Southwark, Newham and Hackney. This year, thanks to the National Lottery funding, StreetDoctors will aim to deliver double that – teaching approximately 300 sessions reaching around 1,800 young people.
Across the UK last year, 810 sessions were taught, reaching over 4,030 young people, with 29 achieving a first aid at work accreditation. StreetDoctors has over 150 delivery partners in 16 cities across the UK.
The charity believes that deterrence alone is ineffective in changing attitudes. This is why the training sessions also play an important role in enabling young people to discuss violence, by focusing on highlighting to young people their role in preventing loss of life.
In each session, the group learn first aid skills, furthering their understanding of the consequences of knife crime. The charity has found that teaching the skills to act in a medical emergency has helped to raise the confidence of participants. In 2018, 85% of attendees said they would be willing and able to act if first aid is needed, whilst 94% said they would know what to do if someone is bleeding or unconscious.
Trustee and former StreetDoctors volunteer, Dr Rochelle Pierre, grew up around youth violence in Hackney, and recalls when someone close to her was injured following a violent incident: “I was unaware of the ways to help, but thankfully an ambulance was called. In that situation, many young people are either scared of what will happen to them or don’t know what to do. The StreetDoctors training gives young people the chance to make an informed decision about what to do if they are in a similar situation, as they have learnt the skills of how to respond.”[iv]
Chanell Wallace, Presenter of recent BBC documentary Life After My Brother’s Murder, is backing the charity, and said: “I am a huge supporter of StreetDoctors. I love what they do because they believe in young people and their potential to become part of the solution in their communities. It’s brilliant The National Lottery Community Fund is investing in this vital intervention, a really important part of solving the youth violence jigsaw by giving young people the skills to strengthen themselves and help overcome this epidemic.”[v]
Lucie Russell, CEO of StreetDoctors, said: “Community groups, education and youth justice providers host our sessions because they believe in young people's potential to become part of the solution. And our delivery sessions work because they skill up young people in emergency first aid, providing safe spaces for them to explore attitudes to violence with impressive, evidenced results. Thank you so much to the National Lottery for enabling us to expand our reach and deepen our impact across the country.”[vi]
The National Lottery Community Fund is a member of the Government’s Serious Violence Taskforce, which aims to reduce and prevent violence. This is embodied in StreetDoctors’ ethos, which aims to use its experience to develop a public health trauma-informed line to youth violence.
Joe Ferns, UK Funding Director at The National Lottery Community Fund, said: “StreetDoctors’ work empowers young people not just by giving them life-saving skills, but also an opportunity to talk about violence in their communities. This is an important part of reducing violence and discouraging the carrying of weapons by helping young people recognise they can be life savers through their actions and choices.”
The National Lottery Community Fund distributes money raised by National Lottery players for good causes. Last year it awarded over £214 million to projects across the UK supporting children and young people.
To find out more visit www.TNLCommunityFund.org.uk
[i] 1.4, A Public Health Approach to Serious Youth Violence: Supporting Evidence, GLA Strategic Crime Analysis, July 2019
[ii] year ending March 2019, see below
[iii] Crime in England and Wales: Year Ending March 2019, Office for National Statistics, July 2019
See Dr. Rochelle Pierre’s biography below.
[v] Further comment from Chanell Wallace can be seen below.
Further comment from Lucie Russell is available below.
[vii] Hospital admissions for youths assaulted with sharp objects up almost 60%, NHS England, 9.02.19
- Date published