Project Description

The Youth Now project is a two-year pilot project using the principles of contextual safeguarding to develop better responses to increasing levels of youth violence in the Oldham area of Greater Manchester. The project is based within the Youth Justice team of the voluntary sector organisation ‘Positive Steps’ and the key partners in the pilot are Greater Manchester Police and Oldham Council.

Paula Skidmore, Senior Research Fellow, is working as an embedded researcher with Youth Now, to support the pilot to establish and sustain local contextual safeguarding approaches to extra-familial harm around serious youth violence.

The research will find out:

  • How is contextual safeguarding theory being developed and implemented by the Youth Now team?
  • What needs to happen locally to sustain a contextual safeguarding approach to youth violence beyond the lifetime of the pilot?

In order to answer these questions, the research utilises the following methods, through an embedded approach:

  • Observations of team meetings and shadowing practitioners engaged in contextual safeguarding partnership activity, across schools, community and social care settings
  • Interviews with project team members from Positive Steps and wider partnership stakeholders involved in development and implementation of the Youth Now pilot
  • Review of policies, procedures and assessments related to adolescent safeguarding and early intervention and prevention by the youth justice team
  • Case analysis of individual young people supported by the Youth Now project
  • Focus group interviews with practitioners and professionals who have engaged with the implementation of the pilot to identify key learning on contextual safeguarding locally
  • Utilising exemplar practice from engagement with the wider UK contextual safeguarding network to inform the development of the Youth Now project in Oldham.

The resources below were co-developed by Paula and practitioners from the Youth Now team to share learning from the project. They form part of an initial set of resources – more will follow at the end of project.

Principal Investigator: Carlene Firmin

Funder: Positive Steps (Oldham)/Greater Manchester Police/ Oldham Council

Contact: [email protected]

Youth Now Community Implementation Tool

This flowchart was created by the 'Youth Now' team to capture how they planned a contextual intervention to bring together key providers around a joint offer for young people and increase community guardianship.

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Using observational information with a visual record

This case study shares how the Youth Now team have taken photographs to inform observational assessments in numerous locations within Oldham where safeguarding concerns were identified.

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Youth Now ‘peer mentoring’ approach to support Contextual Safeguarding

One of the Youth Now mentors describes how they use a Contextual Safeguarding approach in their mentoring within community settings and schools, and how that has developed over time.

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Bringing context into your team

This infographic describes how, over the course of the project, the Youth Now team changed its organisational structure to enable a clearer focus on cross-cutting issues related to Contextual Safeguarding.

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