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Redthread Q and A

Date posted: 16 February 2017

Following the recent BBC documentary, “Gang Girls” we were really impressed by the work carried out by the London-based charity, Redthread. They are doing incredible work with vulnerable young people. We have been in touch with John Poyton, Redthread’s CEO, to find out more. 


  1. We understand that Redthread does some great work! Please tell us more about the help you offer young people in London.


Thank you! All of our work involves supporting vulnerable young people to be healthy. Our largest project is the Youth Violence Intervention Programme, which runs out of London’s four Major Trauma Centre A&Es. In these hospitals we work with young people who arrive having been the victim of violence or exploitation, often stabbings, other weapons-based assaults or domestic abuse.


Our youth workers, who become part of the hospital team, support young people through this intense crisis. By encouraging them to make positive and healthy plans we aim to help these young people move away from the cruel cycle of violence that too often and too easily leads to re-assault, re-injury and re-attendance.


  1. We’ve heard you talk about the ‘Teachable Moment’ before. What is it?


The ‘Teachable Moment’ is the idea that during a time of crisis people are more able to reflect and question their behaviour objectively, making it possible to pursue changes considered impossible before. When we see young people in A&E they are out of their comfort zone, alienated from their peers and often coming to terms with the effects of injury, and yet they are able to channel this vulnerability into thinking about how and why they have ended up in a hospital bed.


Our youth workers are expert in working in this moment. They encourage and support young people to make life-changing decisions and plans. We’ve been running this programme for more than 10 years, and the ‘teachable moment’ is as powerful opportunity as ever.


  1. What are Redthread’s plans for the future?


Our priority is maintaining the services we run in London’s Major Trauma Centres. Beyond that, we are looking to implement the programme in other hospitals in London. Aside from the Major Trauma Centres, there are more than 20 other London A&E rooms all treating young victims of serious violence and exploitation every day.


This type of violence is not specific to London either, and we are also in discussion with hospitals and local authorities in the Midlands and Essex who want to see the programme in their local area. We know how powerful the ‘teachable moment’ can be and want to offer as many young people as possible life-changing support during this time.


  1. How can we assist Redthread’s clients professionally?


The young people we support face diverse and challenging issues; issues that have led them to assault and exploitation and that are obstacles in the way of progress. Wilsons’ offer to assess eligibility for legal aid for some of our young people who need it is incredibly generous and we are very grateful for your support.