Brent clients met Karen Bradley MP, minister for preventing abuse and exploitation during a recent visit to Wembley Stadium on the 18th January. The meeting, to discuss AIR Sports Network’s ongoing work with Brent Borough Council to reduce gang-related violence as part of the Government’s Ending Gang and Youth Violence programme saw the programme draw praise from the Minster who cited the strong partnership between Brent Council, the police and AIR Sports Network as an example of best practice:
“Gang violence and exploitation can devastate communities, leaving vulnerable young people trapped in a cycle from which it is difficult to escape. I was really impressed by the work of AIR Sports Network, which is providing a real alternative to being in a gang through rehabilitating offenders back into their communities with mentoring, training and sport. It is through government, councils and charities working together with organisations, such as AIR Sports Network, that we can end this form of violence and exploitation.”
Colm Whitty, Director of AIR Sports Network said: “We are grateful for the comments of the minister and are delighted that the excellent partnership work tackling gangs in Brent has been highlighted in this positive manner.”
The AIR Sports Network Brent programme is a sports and fitness based mentoring and support programme providing a long-term programme of rehabilitation and employment support. Currently 77% of ex-offenders are known not to have reoffended whilst attending the Brent programme and 58% of individuals achieved a positive destination.
Last week, it was also announced that the successful ongoing Home Office Ending Gangs and Youth Violence programme, which has already helped 43 areas in England with tailored support and advice from a network of over 100 specialists, would be expanded into nine new areas.