The first of a cohort of Community Ambassadors have been appointed as part of a pioneering new project to tackle violence across Nottinghamshire.
Nottinghamshire’s Violence Reduction Unit (VRU) – a multiagency team of violence prevention specialists dedicated to preventing weapon-enabled violence and gang culture – has recruited six 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.
The Community Ambassadors were formally welcomed into post (Wednesday 16 September) during a launch event at Brewhouse and Kitchen, Trent Bridge, Nottingham.
Paddy Tipping, Nottinghamshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner and chair of the VRN, said: “I warmly welcome our first Community Ambassadors to the team and wish them every success in their new roles.
“Each of our new recruits is already working with people at risk of becoming perpetrators or victims of violence and making a huge difference within their communities. With their dynamic insight and understanding of the areas in which they live and their established network of contacts, we aim to expand their work and ensure more vulnerable people are supported to prevent future crisis in their lives.
“The VRU believes communities are critical to fostering the kind of positive environment that deters people from engaging in crime or violence in the first place. The VRU is working hard to identify and address factors which make knife crime and weapon-enabled violence more or less likely and places huge value on the experience and expertise local people can bring to its work.
“This is an exciting step for the VRU and we really believe through this grassroots work and the commitment of our Community Ambassadors that we will transform our communities, counter negative behavioural patterns and remove the barriers that prevent success.”
Community Ambassadors will not only focus on fighting violence but also ensuring the residents in their communities have good mental health and wellbeing, access to skills, training and employment and the support to overcome problems impacting their lives.
The first Community Ambassadors to be appointed are Asad Fazil, founder and chief executive of Al Hurraya, Courtney Rose, executive director of Take 1 Studios and headteacher, Hyacinth Francis-Watson, founder and project manager of Chayah Group, Dalton Stephens, youth worker and sports coach at the Renewal Trust, Marcellus Baz, chief executive of Switch Up, and Naveed Rashid, chairman at Sahara Mental Health.
The team will be tasked with liaising with service providers and signposting individuals and families to their facilities as appropriate, attending community-based meetings, helping community groups and providers to deliver projects which support the VRU’s work, contributing to action plans on issues impacting the area and communicating key messages about the positive work underway in the area.
The VRU will deliver ongoing training, development and mentorship to ensure the Community Ambassadors have the knowledge and tools they need to be effective.
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