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Fred Kratt
Your Community Navigator

Fred is passionate about his adopted city of Coventry and seeing it’s young people safe and hopeful for the future. He is also committed to Coventry…

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. 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.

Phase 1 (December 2019 – March 2020)

The pilot project in Hillfields, based out of the Harmony Family Hub, aims to reduce the risk of someone engaging in or experiencing violence, and develop and build on the support available for the community.

The Hillfields pilot launched in December 2019 and over the course of the next few months the following interventions were commissioned:

  • 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 focused 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 “#OurHillfields”.
  • 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.

There were various outcomes to Phase 1, including:

  • A greater awareness of trauma-informed approaches and the impact of adverse experiences (ACEs) in childhood. This has built a more trauma-responsive community that can support each other and promote resilience.
  • Youth collaboration with the project empowered young people locally to become involved with the community.
  • The place-based approach supported community cohesion and a local sense of belonging.
  • The strength of local partnerships and community collaboration increased as a result of the activity and campaigns held during the pilot.

Phase 2 (September 2020 – present)

After a period of national lockdown in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Hillfields pilot was officially re-launched in September 2020. Building on the successes of Phase 1, the following interventions were commissioned in Phase 2:

  • 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, schools and alternative settings.
  • School and community-based mentoring for at-risk young people.
  • Saturday afternoon activity and awareness-raising sessions for local families and young people.
  • Domestic Abuse prevention Ambassador training.
  • Employment support and careers advice service.

In addition to these projects, we have launched a Hillfields Youth Panel and a Community Champions scheme for local volunteers who would like to help reduce violence in their area.

The #OurHillfields​ short film, produced by the Positive Youth Foundation and commissioned by the West Midlands Violence Reduction Unit, celebrates the contributions of local partners and young people to the VRU’s place-based pilot in Hillfields which began in December 2019.

#OurHillfields

A guide to services in our community

Download #OurHillfields

Wood End and Moat House (WEMH)

Other communities in Coventry have also experienced high levels of serious youth violence. We are supporting work to strengthen existing violence reduction partnerships in Wood End and to commission projects that are in keeping with the needs and wishes of the local residents and young people there. A stakeholder network has been established and work is now underway on three commissioned projects: 

  1. Universal Protective Behaviours Program for children aged between 2 and 5 years in nurseries, schools and alternative settings.
  2. Youth led Domestic Violence prevention campaign.
  3. Youth-led counter-narrative to violence.

What next?

VRU activity in both Hillfields and Wood End will continue. Changes will be made to projects where necessary to ensure the safety of participants, as we work around the impact of COVID -19.

Check this page for regular updates on pilot progress.

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