Our community navigators will soon be in post. In the meantime you can reach the VRU by emailing us on firstname.lastname@example.org…
Our community navigators will soon be in post. In the meantime you can reach the VRU by emailing us on email@example.com
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 that are 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.
What is the Walsall Navigator focusing on?
In Walsall we have been running a pilot project since December 2019. The scheme at Walsall College sees staff and students working together to embed a trauma informed approach. This is designed to offer more support to young people who might be experiencing a range of difficulties in their lives. It is hoped this approach will enable young people to make the most of their education. If the scheme is deemed to be a success then the VRU will consider rolling it out more widely. An approach like this has never been tried before in the West Midlands at an institution as large as the college.
The scheme offers a wide range of support which is tailored for each individual who needs it at the college. The hope is by offering a variety of interventions we will effectively address the trauma an individual has experienced.
The support at the college provides:
- A College staff team trained to deliver trauma and adversity awareness on an ongoing basis internally.
- A College staff team trained to deliver Mentors In Violence Prevention (hyperlink to the MVP page) on an ongoing basis, in order to develop and grow the program internally.
- An on-site wellbeing hub offering specialist support to individuals affected by interpersonal abuse.
- A team of on-site mental health first aiders that can immediately respond to mental health difficulties being experienced by students.
- Targeted mentoring support for students.
- Student led communications campaign.
The model from the college will provide a blueprint for how schools in the area may adopt the same or similar approaches. Over the summer these schools will be supported to develop projects, growing the approach across Walsall and ultimately aiming to support students to remain in education and reduce their risk of engaging in or being exposed to violence.
Watch this space for further updates regarding pilot activity in Walsall.