The first of a cohort of Community Ambassadors have been appointed as part of a pioneering new project to tackle violence across Nottinghamshire.
We have recruited 13 passionate and driven residents to become figureheads for safety in their local areas in a scheme that is the first of its kind in the county. The new team, who all have proven success in tackling problem behaviour and supporting people at risk of crime to change, have been appointed to support the VRU’s work, build relationships with local people and ensure communities have the necessary resources and provision to encourage vulnerable people to thrive.
It is part of the VRU’s public health approach to crime which aims to empower communities to develop bespoke solutions to the issues impacting their local areas.
This page is currently being updated with the current team of Community Ambassadors - please see below:
My name is Rani and I am a final-year Criminology and Sociology student at the University of Nottingham and completing my dissertation in the role of urban churches in youth intervention. I am very keen to increase my knowledge on how different institutions in society work to help young people who are vulnerable to gangs and youth violence, which is what made me want to become a youth and community ambassador.
I am passionate about developing my skills concerning working with young people, as I would really like to pursue a career in youth intervention once I graduate, and my ambassador role is providing me with so many valuable training opportunities which I am enjoying so much!
MARCELLUS BAZ, BEM
My name is Marcellus and I the founder and CEO of Switch Up CIC and Nottingham School of Boxing. The two organisations utilise sport, mentoring, education and counselling to transform the lives of young people and transition them into employment, training, and further education.
I was born in a deprived area of Nottingham, UK, and groomed into criminality before dedicating my life to supporting communities affected by crime and violence. In 2016, I was awarded the BBC Sports Personality of The Year Award and a British Empire Medal.
I work with Nottingham’s deprived communities such as St Ann’s, Radford and the Meadows. The main target is vulnerable young people who are often from minority groups, although me and my team help anyone that will benefit from a positive role model so they can believe in achieving a career outside of crime. This can be anyone that walks into the boxing gym or referrals from social care, or the police. In 2020 and 2021, that extended to helping families facing crisis due to the coronavirus – helping anyone that needs it with food parcels, warm clothes or advice on what the government guidelines mean for different cultural groups.
I want to help young people to avoid the journey I had, to learn of the dangers they face with the path they are on, and to provide them with access to opportunities I wished I’d had.
This means giving young people access to role models with lived experiences of their journeys, who they can build trust with and communicate their fears and aspirations and who will link them to the required support and opportunities
My name is Larelle David, I am a part time teaching Assistant as well as having my business Lflavours a food service providing Jamaican food and I am also hoping to become a nutritionist this year.
I have a level 3 in youth work and also have worked for Nottingham City Council volunteering since I was 9 years old - I love to see and change my city of Nottingham for the better.
As a community Ambassador I hope to be a role model for other young people and also help young people to get away from being caught up in the wrong things.
My name is Jacob Dunne and I am an educator facilitating important conversations around criminal justice, education and mental health.
In 2020 I helped create and present a BBC Radio 4 series The Punch based on my own life story and the transformative effect of Restorative Justice on my life. I am a former Longford scholar and received a first class honours in Criminology from Nottingham Trent University in 2019.
I am currently writing my first book ‘Right from Wrong’ to be published in early 2022 and am keen to continue stimulating important conversations with the public.
My other work includes programme facilitation, mentoring, consultation and staff training in any environments where cultures could work better together.
Asad Fazil is Founder/Director of Al Hurraya, a community organisation based in Nottingham which develops culturally specific interventions to improve overall community cohesion, to enable beneficiaries and families to overcomes barriers to reach their potential
Al-Hurraya was founded in 2014 by Asad Fazil after he recognised that there was an emerging need of a service which works directly with Minority communities. He wanted to offer services where he could use his specialism, empower people and engage with them.
Asad has over ten years of experience working in the voluntary, statutory sector. Having overcome many challenges of his own he identified the need for a culturally specific organisation which would improve service provision for Black, Asian, Minority, Ethnic, Refugees and New Emerging communities. He developed the first UK based Islamic 12 step program.
Asad’s vision for Al-Hurraya is for it to become a leading BAME specialist service providing solutions and support for all its beneficiaries.
Greetings my name is Hyacinth Francis-Watson. The founder and Regional manager for the Chayah Development Project.
My aim is to look at best practices been delivered and combining them to empower, enrich and equip our citizens to live in love and safety the best way possible.
I am a people's person so engaging with different communities and feeling the energy is my steer to continue to do the best I can whilst I can. I believe that I may be the oldest VRU Ambassador which does not faze me just adding life experience into the team.
The future is bright.
Hi, my name is Yvonne, my nickname is Pam, which I adore as was given to me by my grandma. Welcome to my bio, here is a bit of information about me although if you get bored, please make yourself a cup of tea and then come back to it.
So, here is the movie, ready...I was born in Jamaica,(imagine waterfalls, sunshine and some reggae in the background) and at quite a young age I moved to England. I have been working in the community for the last 40 years,(a long time isn’t it?) My qualifications are around health and social care, especially caring for the elderly with Dementia. I have also been actively involved in working with kids who have learning disabilities (I consider bringing joys to them is my forte). I have also volunteered for Cancer Awareness for Change Makers and Mental health awareness organizations especially Awaaz within Nottinghamshire.
I was also awarded an ambassador for Time to Change and the East Midlands champion in 2014. That was a big year for the mental health awareness projects, I remember. I have also been a volunteer Radio Show Presenter on my own show The Happy Empathy Hour at Radio Dawn 107.6FM since 2016. Currently I am working on my Blogs to cover stigmas related subjects to help the youngsters, especially and providing them with all the information that I can possibly publish for the members of the communities to get help and support from.
I enjoy learning about different cultures & traditions, music, dancing and creative arts are my hobbies and interests.
I would like to bring all my knowledge and experience around mental health and wellbeing, to help strive towards creating a better society.
Hey, this is where the fun starts, why not grab a cup of tea and listen to some gold ol’ reggae music and let's dance. As uncle Shakespeare mentioned that life is merely a stage and we are all actors. Why don’t we then enjoy a good laugh and have a brilliant time by showing empathy towards each other.
My name is Katie and I am currently a third year student and the University of Nottingham studying criminology and sociology.
I am excited to expand my knowledge on violence reduction invention and the various institutions involved in reducing violence which is what drew me to becoming a community ambassador.
I am looking forward to developing further skills to have a future career within policing. I am excited to know more as well as expand my skill set with the VRU and work towards a better future!
For me, the ambassador role is an opportunity to focus on community approaches to tackling violent crime and the underlying causes of violent crime, something that is close to my heart. I believe it is time for me to focus my attention on Nottingham as my adopted home and I would like to be further ingrained into the community that is on my doorstep.
I hope to achieve a more cohesive approach to rehabilitation and resettlement in Nottingham to help reduce reoffending. However, most importantly, I hope to co-create meaningful personal and progression opportunities for individuals so they can find happiness and peace in life.
My name is Monifa and I am a Nurse working within Nottingham. This unfortunately has exposed me to some of the aftermath of violence that can occur and has helped me develop my passion to want to encourage positive change.
As an ambassador I hope to gain skills and knowledge to support the community within Nottingham, as well as develop understanding of what the causes of violent crimes can be. I also aim to work with Nottingham residents to appropriately implement a community based approach to tackle crime. I believe effective education and support via awareness, prevention and evaluation into the relationship of healthcare and crime is key for a brighter future.
I am the executive director for Take one studios. A training facility based in Nottingham. We are an accredited centre for NCFE ,Arts award and have been delivering for a number of years. I manage a small team and also teach Music technology.
Hi, I am Keiren Thompson and I established ‘Helping Kids Achieve’ after I was seriously injured in a gang attack so that I could keep young people in Bulwell away from crime by offering a variety of sports clubs in safe places
The community project offers young people the opportunity to engage in sports, particularly basketball which I coach, as well as other interactive activities such as arts and crafts, and music, with the aim of keeping them away from gangs and getting involved in anti-social behaviour.
I was very proud that this coaching and outreach work was recognised with the Unsung Hero award at the BBC’s Sports Personality of the Year 2019.
My name is Tranai Todd, I am Sports Development Officer and Youth Representative at The Pythian Club, which aims to tackle negative influences such as knife crime, gang violence and youth offending through a range of positive initiatives and further opportunities for our young people.
I am passionate about supporting the development of young people, identifying the issues and barriers that they face in everyday life and doing my best to influence positive change within my community.
Alongside this, I am the CEO of a successful fitness and nutrition company (Fierce Start Fitness) and am working towards my level 3 qualification in sports business. As a community ambassador for the Violence Reduction Unit, I aim to support the development of programmes which better our communities and create more positive environments for our young people, where they can aspire, progress and excel to be role models to their peers and achieve great things without boundaries or barriers limiting their progression.
I believe that by trusting young people to lead the way and allowing them to influence positive change at decision making level, we can directly impact the perspectives of all young people and provide a sense of direction in their lives so that they can begin to support the life-changing and inspirational work of our organisations.
The Time Is Now to implement real change within the city and county which puts our young people and communities front and centre every time.
My name is Naveed and I am the founder and chairman of Sahara Mental Health, a non-profit community organisation. The aim of Sahara is to stamp out stigma attached to Mental Health and raise awareness through sports and the arts. Sahara Mental Health has been set up for children and young people with focus on Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic communities in the UK.
I am also the founder and chairman of Down Knives and Gloves up based at Jawaid Khaliq Boxing and Fitness Academy in Nottingham.
The aim of the non-profit community organisation is to reduce knife crime and youth violence in the Nottinghamshire through Mentoring, Training, Employment, Boxing and Fitness. Our focus is 16-24 year olds from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic communities in the Nottingham.
As well as the above organisations I am community point of contact for victim care and champion for BAME Climate change in Nottingham. I work closely with many organisations in the East Midlands who share the same passion as me and want to bring change in society.
During the past year and ongoing it has been a difficult time with the pandemic and lockdown. I have been providing telephone support to young people and Adults on daily basis. I have also provided free online boxing and fitness sessions for all ages with Jawaid Khaliq.
My full time and paid work is in a well established UK law firm called Browne Jacobson which I have worked for the past 3 years.
As a community Ambassador for the VRU, I hope to be a role model for young people in the city. Listen, help, guide and transform their lives for a better future. I want to reduce violence and gang related crime to save lives through community development.