The Thanet Mentoring Programme supports, guides and challenges young people in Thanet, Kent, who are either at risk of becoming involved in crime or already in the criminal justice system. The young people are aged between 12 and 24 and we deliver over four main themes:
- Understanding crime and the consequences of crime.
- Understanding the consequences of carrying a knife, gun or lethal weapon when engaged in criminal activity.
- Understanding the implications of joint enterprise when engaged in criminal activity.
- Guiding young people to make better decisions when faced with challenging circumstances.
The programme was developed by a diverse team including a mother of murder victim, a convicted London gang member and former serving prisoner, a former Metropolitan Police Officer of 32 years, young CACT peer mentors and other suitably qualified CACT coaches and mentors.
Led by CACT’s Thanet Mentoring Officer, each young person has a dedicated mentor that meets with them at least once a week.
Techniques like motivational interviewing and person-centred tactics are used to achieve attitudinal and behavioural changes. There is an initial needs assessment and partnership meeting, followed by a number of one-to-one sessions specific to the individual’s needs. Alongside this, there are also weekly group sessions including workshops and motivational guest speakers.
The mentoring programme has a holistic approach and supports young people in combating issues from anger management and substance misuse to low self-esteem, self-harm and bullying.
On average, it works with the young people for 6-12 months. The cohort have often had poor attendance, behaviour and outcomes in education and therefore have a higher likelihood of being unemployed if a positive intervention does not take place. Once engaged and steered away from their negative behaviour the young people are supported either back into their existing education provision or signposted towards alternative provision if required. For the older (16-18) cohort this includes signposting into college, apprenticeships and training, which CACT’s contacts and established education remit assist.
Mark Pearson from Kent Police’s Margate Task Force (MTF) says:
“The multi-agency Margate Task Force has a highly positive and productive working relationship with CACT, which has been instrumental in working jointly with the 14 agencies within the MTF to better support and safeguard young people most at risk from gangs and other forms of exploitation.
The MTF have regularly referred young people to CACT’s effective suite of positive services. This no doubt has served to improve local young people’s mental health, wellbeing and feelings of safety. CACT has profoundly touched young lives, fostering a sense of hope and improved self-esteem along with generating a solid foundation for positive development and positive futures.”
James Hensman, Kent Police’s Gangs Prevention Coordinator, says:
“In recent years, London gangs have begun to expand further into counties outside London to sell both Class A and B drugs. Kent in particular is recognised as a county where ‘county dealing line’ franchise is thriving. In North Kent, 41% of mapped gang nominals originate from London and in East Division this number is significantly higher, an estimated 85% to 90%. Of gangs and drug lines operating in Kent a large proportion originate from the London Boroughs of Royal Greenwich and Bexley, causing a significant threat to Kent communities.
“CACT have been successful both in East Kent and North Kent, historically working with youths on the periphery of gang criminality. This important diversion helps reduce offending and stem the flow of gang-related activity. I am therefore fully supportive of their bid around continued intervention and education.”
74% of the young people involved have achieved a positive outcome; that is through mentoring were able to: re-engage, improve, maintain and sustain involvement in some form of Education, Training or Employment with Training.