A programme has been introduced to help young people stay away from knife crime and violence as they enter secondary school.
The scheme called ‘Blocks’ delivers one-to-one emotional support for pupils in years five, six and seven, who have been through challenges in their own lives.
The programme, led by mentors who are based in local school communities, is run by Greater Manchester’s Violence Reduction Unit.
One young person who has been part of the programme said: “My sessions with my mentor have helped me understand more about my emotions.
“I think this is important because it means I can deal with them a lot better and not get into fights.”
The dedicated one-to-one classes include building confidence, self esteem, managing difficult emotions and building social skills through visual activities.
One mentor on the programme, Blessing, thinks the one to one method is effective.
She said: “It allows them (children) to be able to confide in one person without the feeling of being judged, or the pressure of having peers around.”
Blocks was designed by teachers, young children and parents and is supported by 10 schools across Greater Manchester.
A teacher whose school is accessing Blocks said: “I think it’s important because there’s so much pressure on young people, outside of school, social pressures, they are seeing so much more online.
“And I think, having someone who can help them navigate around that and talk about what’s bothering them, it’s just so important.”
Blocks has now been running for 12 months and is available through the academic year.
Another young person said: “My mentor has given me the confidence to start going to drama club in my local community.
“I didn’t feel good enough to go before, but now I know what to do to make myself feel confident enough to go.”
Kate Green, Greater Manchester’s Deputy Mayor for Policing, Crime, Criminal Justice and Fire, said: “I had the privilege of meeting some of the staff and young people involved in the programme at a primary school earlier this year.
“Those I spoke to provided an insight into their experiences in schools, at home, and in the community, and the impact the programme has had on them.”
Featured image: Jarmoluk, from Pixabay.com