Watch our new video to find out about what we do and meet two of the young people we’ve worked with. It features Natasha and Ben*, two young Londoners sharing their stories of how they came to be involved with Safer London. You’ll also meet two of our Project Managers to tell you a little more about our approach, and how we work.
We often get told that our support is life-changing, and hopefully this will show you why.
One of the stories in the video is Natasha who is 13. She was referred to Safer London after being sexually assaulted in her home by a male she knew from school. Following the event, Natasha was bullied at school and had low self-esteem. After a few months with one of our Young People’s Advocates, her confidence is restored and she is enjoying school again.
“I don’t have to keep it in to myself anymore. It’s not a burden on me”
The other young person featured in the video is Ben, who is 19. Ben and his family were at serious risk of harm due to a drug debt with a local gang. We were able to relocate Ben, and help him start a new life.
“He’s more than a support worker to me, I see him as a role model”
We wanted to commission a video that reflected the reality of our work. This isn’t easy for a whole range of reasons, namely the fact that the young people with whom we work are very vulnerable. As such, having them identifiable on screen is really not an option.
Some of the traditional ways around this – employing actors or sticking to a focus on organisation spokespeople – undermined what we needed this film to achieve. We didn’t want to speak on young people’s behalf, but rather empower them to tell their own story. These aren’t actors, none of it was scripted, and it’s all real.
*All names have been changed to preserve anonymity.
———— Video transcript ————
Reanne Turner, Project Manager at Safer London
In terms of the make-up of young people that we work with, there is no kind of one “it’s this type of young person”. We see a real broad spectrum.
Safer London works with thousands of young people each year, helping them to live free from violence and crime
At first, I was really kind of apprehensive because I never wanted to talk to anyone about it. And then I met my worker. At first, I wasn’t quite sure what to say or anything, but after a while, I started talking to her about it. Because not only had that incident affected my life, but it affected other people’s around me, and my own attitudes as well to situations.
Natasha was referred to Safer London after being sexually assaulted in her home by a male she knew from school. She was 13.
Well, I think my support worker’s given me better communication skills, with speaking and listening. I wasn’t the best with talking to people before.
Ben and his family were at serious risk of harm due to a drug debt with a local gang.
Safer London relocated Ben to make sure he was safe, then worked with him to improve his mental wellbeing and empower him to move forward positively with his life.
The relationships that Young People’s Advocates build with young people is often very different to the relationships they’ve had with various other professionals before. And for me, I think a big part of that is that we act as an advocate for the young person.
Daniel Morris, Project Manager at Safer London
It’s being able to just question things, and have someone advocate for you and let you know that you’re right, when you’re right, and when you’re wrong challenge you and things. And provide answers, so it’s not, kind of, “I’m telling you because I’m right”, it’s more “Let’s explore this together. This is why I think it’s wrong, what do you think? Maybe read this, have a look at this, go through some activities.” So it’s kind of like a peer, a joint learning experience, and I feel our approach is key to young people’s self-esteem and development.
We work in a very different way to lots of other agencies, where we can go and meet them at school if that’s the place where they identify that they want to meet and where they feel safe. Or, it can be a park or a coffee shop.
What I’ve found about working at Safer London is that we have freedom, to a certain extent, to be really creative with our service users, and build relationships in any way that we need.
It makes me feel happy because I don’t have to worry about things anymore. Since I’ve had my worker I can always just call her up, and they are always there for me, no matter what. She’ll help me mull my problems and I can just tell her anything and everything will be confidential. I don’t have to keep it in to myself anymore. It’s not a burden on me.
He’s more than a support worker to me, I see him as a role model, I don’t see him as a support worker if you know what I’m saying. It makes me feel more strong as a person, and just more better about myself. I don’t know, he makes me feel more better about myself, the way he is with me, the way he deals with me, the way he treats me. I’m lost for words, really.
Me and my worker, now, we’re actually really good friends. I wouldn’t call her my worker, in fact, I’d call her by her first name, because we’ve actually got a really good friendship together.
I feel more part of the community, like I feel like I fit in with everyone else, I don’t feel like I have to worry about police, you know, like I used to. Since I’ve been on the programme I’ve always had motivation. I feel confident about getting in to work, and wanting to work basically. I’ve always wanted to be a plumber.
If I saw someone in a similar situation, I’d help them like my worker helped me. And I’d also tell them not to worry about it, and not to over-think it, because people obviously talk about it for some time, but after a while it will all blow over, because they can’t talk about it forever, things will move on.