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Barnardo’s will help turn teenage boys and girls away from London gangs

Release Date: 30 Mar 2017

Young people who are at risk of becoming involved in gangs and violent crime in south London will be targeted in an intensive new project launched today.

Pre-teens and teenagers in Lambeth, Southwark and Croydon will be supported by Barnardo’s YouTurn project workers, who will work directly with schools, community groups and families to help young people make better life choices, including girls and young women.

The three-year initiative is being funded with £360,000 of National Lottery funding from the Big Lottery Fund. It is based on a successful YouTurn project run by Barnardo’s in Southwark and Lambeth between 2012 and 2015, which carried out group work sessions with more than 300 young people in schools and in the community, and provided intensive one-to-one support for 31 at-risk young people. Nine out of ten of those supported were from black and minority ethnic communities.

The new project was commissioned amid concern about a 32 per cent rise in the number of young girls committing criminal offences in Croydon between 2012 and 2014, and a 51 per cent rise in Lambeth over the same period.

Young people, teachers, professionals and community workers from the three boroughs gathered for the official launch of the project at Barnardo’s: The Triangle, in Coxwell Road, Crystal Palace, on Thursday, March 30.

Lynn Gradwell, Director of Barnardo’s in London, said:

Too often, young people in south London find themselves being pressured into situations involving gangs and violence. It’s all too easy for teenagers and even younger children to become embroiled in activity which puts themselves and others at risk. Just a few poor decisions can lead to a chain of events from which both boys and girls find it very hard to escape.

We’re really pleased to have received this National Lottery funding to develop a new YouTurn project which will build on all the work we have already done in Southwark and Lambeth, and extend it for the first time to support vulnerable young people and families in Croydon. We’re confident that the project will have a positive impact on the lives of many young people, helping them to make better and safer life choices over the long term.

Dawn Austwick, Chief Executive at the Big Lottery Fund said:

Thanks to National Lottery players, young people across London will benefit from life-changing guidance and coaching, which will help steer them into education, employment and a rewarding future.

To speak to a member of the team about running YouTurn sessions in Southwark, Lambeth or Croydon please call 020 7790 4621.


Notes to editors

For more information please contact Dan Hodges on 07887 737 048 or email

Picture caption: L-R The Barnardo’s YouTurn project team at the launch event in Crystal Palace, south London

The YouTurn project team will be based at The Hub in Stepney Green, a Barnardo’s centre which supports at-risk young people. Space for family and community forums will be available at The Triangle in Crystal Palace.

The project will have three key elements:

Prevention – including an intensive six-week programme for parents and families, bi-monthly family forums and weekly meetings for parents and carers referred through social care.

Whole-school approach – working closely with schools to deliver a six-week programme across the whole school, including age-appropriate work with individual year groups and sessions with staff and parents and carers.

Intensive support – six months of weekly (or more regular) targeted one-to-one support from a project worker, followed by ongoing support from a volunteer befriender.

Volunteers will be recruited to help deliver group sessions in schools and provide ongoing one-to-one support, as well as acting as mentors to young people who who have completed the intensive six-month programme.

Last year 248,000 children, young people and families were supported by Barnardo’s through more than 996 services across the UK, such as young carers, care leavers, foster carers and adoptive parents, training and skills or parenting classes.

We work to transform the lives of the UK’s most vulnerable children and every year we help thousands of families to build a better future. But we cannot do it without you.

Visit to find out how you can get involved. Registered charity No. 216250 and SC037605

Follow Barnardo’s media team on Twitter @BarnardosNews

The Big Lottery Fund is the largest funder of community activity in the UK. It puts people in the lead to improve their lives and communities, often through small, local projects.

It is responsible for giving out 40% of the money raised by National Lottery players for good causes. Last year it awarded £583 million and supported around 12,000 projects across the UK for health, education, environment and charitable purposes.

Since June 2004 it has awarded over £8 billion to projects that change the lives of millions of people.

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