LifeLine’s SW!TCH Lives programme is funded through the Community Safety Team of the London Borough of Havering. The SW!TCH Lives team provides support to vulnerable young people in Havering, who are at risk of or who are currently known to the Criminal Justice System, to prevent their situation from worsening. The service works closely with the Council’s Youth Offending Service and Probation Service, as part of a greater focus on preventative measures for young people in the borough.
Over the last year, the programme has engaged with 54 young people providing intensive one-to-one mentoring, CV development, job search workshops, interview preparation, advocacy support with housing, schools and colleges, and liaising with other key professionals.
The young person received a 12-month referral order for a robbery that involved a knife.
The young person currently lives with his mother, nan, uncle, and cousin. He was born overseas and migrated to the UK with his mum. The family initially lived in Essex, he moved out of his mum’s address and went to live with his father for one year. He then returned to live with mum following a breakdown of his relationship with his dad. Young person will not share what happened between himself and his dad, but he attributes his offence to being in a bad headspace at the time.
The young person did however share with his youth justice practitioner that whilst living with dad he witnessed someone die in his arms. He has also expressed that he lost a few friends when living overseas to stabbings.
Young person describes himself as an introvert. He chooses to spend time alone with family and his few close friends. He was permanently excluded from school for being in possession of cannabis.
When the youth justice practitioner met with the young person and his family, they were able to discuss his situation openly. Upon observation, it was evident that he did not speak much about himself nor the situation. He was asked if he would feel more comfortable meeting on his own, so that conversation would be freer and more open, where it would be possible to sit and have a chat over a meal. He agreed.
After a few weeks of visiting and befriending him, he was able to speak about the situation leading up to his arrest and was able to share more expressively. In the sessions, the practitioner and young person looked at different ways of him moving forward with his life in a positive way and how he can work towards achieving that as well as showing everyone that he can do better with himself.
He agreed to continuing studying construction. He started attending college more and was turning up on time. Due to this, he was able to see the changes and decided to want more for his life. During the sessions the practitioner explored his vision identity and purpose, by looking at his future and what he would want his children to say about him. He wants to be a positive role model and decided to work towards that goal.
Months into the sessions, he was comfortable enough to speak about his dad and the reason why the relationship broke down. This was very helpful for him, the sessions were able to show him he was not alone, and that others are going through similar situations like him regarding the relationships with their parents.
During several discussions about parents’ relationship, he said he would like to work on his relationship with his dad. It was discussed in-depth and looked at ways of him doing this which involved him notifying his mother and family.
A few weeks on, he was able to get in contact with his dad’s family and pass a message on. Things went well from then on and he even went up to see his dad’s family. Young person is still working on his relationship with his dad—it is a slow process but going well. He is, however, not allowing the situation to interfere with his future, he is still working on it and doing very well. The practitioner is still supporting him and there are positives all round currently.
The young person is now attending the gym and is doing well mentally and physically. He likes football as well, but he has not yet attended one of our positive activity sessions. He claims he wants to get fit first before attending.
- To build a more positive relationship with his father.
- To get into working life.
- To graduate from his training course at college.
- To open up further about witnessing the death of someone in when staying with his dad.