Birmingham is the first city in the West Midlands to have youth workers based in A&E departments to help tackle youth violence. The pioneering Youth Violence Intervention Programme, managed by charity, Redthread, is now underway at University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust (UHB) as part of a three-year pilot.
The programme embeds specialist youth workers – a Team Leader, four Youth Workers and two Programme Coordinators – in the Emergency Departments of Queen Elizabeth and Heartlands Hospitals. The team meet young people aged 11-24 who have been the victim of a serious assault including stabbings, gun crime, sexual assault and domestic violence.
The programme will provide young people with the tailored support needed to keep away from involvement in youth violence or exploitation, either as a victim or as a perpetrator.
The Redthread Youth Violence Intervention Programme started at King’s College Hospital 13 years ago and today operates in all four of London’s major trauma centres and Queen’s medical centre in Nottingham. The Redthread team work alongside the clinical staff and meet the young patients as soon as they can: in the A&E waiting room, on the ward, or even in the resuscitation bay.
This moment of intense crisis, when the young person is nursing a serious injury in the daunting environment of a busy hospital, often alone, can be a catalyst for self-reflection and pursuing positive change – a ‘teachable moment’. After leaving the hospital, Redthread mentor and advise the young person and support them to make long-term positive plans.
The Midlands pilot will take place alongside a research project undertaken by the University of Nottingham. A multidisciplinary academic research team will be conducting a Stepped Wedge Design Control Trial which will look to evaluate the impact of the service across the health, social and policing landscape in Nottingham and Birmingham.
To deliver the programme in Birmingham, Redthread has partnered with University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust, Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust and organisations within West Midlands Violence Prevention Alliance, namely the West Midlands Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner. Redthread has received funding from The Health Foundation, UK Home Office, Nottinghamshire Police and Crime Commissioner, Barrow Cadbury Trust, West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner and The Swire Charitable Trust to expand the service to the Midlands.