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Our community navigators will soon be in post. In the meantime you can reach the VRU by emailing us on…

What does a Community Navigator do?

Community Navigators are the VRU’s ‘people on the ground’. It is their job to work with communities, partners and stakeholders to reduce violence. We have seven navigators in total, one in each local authority area. They help co-ordinate the violence reduction effort in local neighbourhoods. They also help introduce new interventions, designed to prevent and reduce violence.

Part of their role is to help communities access support and address issues that are causing violence. They encourage people to adopt tried and test methods which are proven to reduce violence. They empower communities to become involved in the work of the VRU and develop relationships that lead to joint decision making. The navigators also play a vital role in supporting local voluntary sector organisations with funding and developing opportunities.

Across the West Midlands the VRU has trialled a number of violence prevention initiatives in specific places. The aim is to test what works. These schemes are running in small areas, with populations of around 20,000 people and it is the navigators who are going to be managing these projects on a day to day basis.

Hillfields Harmony Family Hub – Whole Life Course Approach to Preventing and Reducing Violence

Context and Evidence

In Coventry 22% of children are growing up in a low income household and Hillfields is an area of acute deprivation. It has also been identified as a violence with injury hotspot (hyperlink to Needs Assessment page in data section). Violence in Hillfields is complex and therefore preventative work needs to be tailored to the community.

Exposure to trauma can disrupt brain development and potentially have immediate and lifelong adverse effects on social, emotional and physical wellbeing. Some of the activity in the pilot aims to raise awareness of trauma and increase support to people who have experienced trauma in their lifetimes.


The pilot project in Hillfields aims to reduce the risk of someone engaging in or experiencing violence, and develop and build on the support available for the community. This includes:

  • Early Years Support Network incorporating maternity care, health visiting, nurseries and primary schools.
  • Universal Protective Behaviours Program for children aged between 2 and 4 years in nurseries.
  • Mentors in Violence Prevention training for primary schools which will focus on transition opportunities to ensure students are ready for their journey into secondary school.
  • Development of an inter-faith safe space network through the creation of Places of Peace project.
  • Detached youth work and late opening of Harmony Family Hub, increasing engagement with young people and their families across the area.
  • Increased police activity and visibility to provide community reassurance and support pro-active work with young people.
  • Young people led communication around the strategy, creation of a strong counter narrative to violence in Hillfields “One Hillfields”.
  • Development of a health champion network through pharmacies in Hillfields strengthening community involvement.
  • Parent support groups.
  • Community training, including first aid and bleed control
  • Community events to bring the area together, including a 10 day Peace Campaign led by young people from Hillfields.

Anticipated Outcomes

  • A greater awareness of trauma informed approaches and the impact of adverse experiences in childhood will build a trauma responsive community that can support each other and promote resilience.
  • More young people will engage with safe space network and onward referrals will promote engagement with positive long-term activities.
  • Youth collaboration with the project will empower young people locally to become involved with the community.
  • Volunteering activity will increase locally, supporting projects that aim to reclaim public space. The place based approach will support community cohesion and a local sense of belonging.
  • Pharmacies, primary care and violence prevention projects will become more effectively linked.
  • The strength of local partnerships and community collaboration will increase as a result of the activity and campaigns held during the pilot.

What Next

The pilot will continue to operate in Hillfields from Harmony Family Hub. We are developing and extending the project as well as the local steering group that drives the work.

Check this page for regular updates on pilot progress.

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