Birmingham youth violence charity wins top national award

Recognition for Redthread’s work with young people affected by violence and street crime.

Youth trauma charity Redthread has won a major national award for its work providing support to young people affected by violence and exploitation in London, Birmingham and Nottingham.

Following a rigorous selection and assessment process, Redthread was chosen from more than 350 charities across the UK as one of the ten winners of the 2021 GSK Impact Awards. The awards are designed to recognise the outstanding work of small and medium sized charities working to improve health and wellbeing in communities across the UK. Winners receive £30,000 in unrestricted funding as well as expert support and leadership development provided by leading health and care charity The King’s Fund.

The Covid-19 pandemic has driven an increase in the number of people who need support from local charities, while also making it harder for charities to deliver services and raise much needed funds. Despite the pandemic, Redthread has continued to give help and support to young people who are affected by trauma.

The charity’s Youth Violence Intervention Programme supports young people who arrive in A&E as a result of stabbings, shootings, sexual violence, exploitation and other forms of violent crime. Redthread heard from clinicians that they often treat the same young person multiple times, and many of the young people tell the charity that they have been exposed to violence throughout their life, at home and in the community. The programme of placing youth workers in major trauma centres and local A&Es works on the principle of the ‘teachable moment’ and aims to disrupt cycles of violence by encouraging young people at a time of crisis to make more positive and healthy choices.

In 2019-20 hospital records showed 97% of the young people supported by the charity did not require hospital treatment for violent injury the following year.

Redthread is also addressing the often-forgotten needs of young women affected by serious youth violence, by placing specialist violence against women and girls’ workers in London hospitals to train clinicians in how best to support young women.

As well as its work in hospitals, Redthread works in Parliament to help get the voices of young people heard. The charity is co-secretariat for the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Knife Crime and Violence Reduction, runs the national cross sector Hospital Interrupting Violence Exchange Network and supports a team of Youth Ambassadors who inform government strategy and ‘speak truth to power’ through attendance at policy events.

Lisa Weaks, Assistant Director at The King’s Fund, said: “Redthread does incredible work helping young men and women who have been affected by violence or exploitation to make a positive transition into adulthood. It works with hospitals across London and the Midlands to encourage and support young people at a time of crisis, enabling them to make healthy choices and disrupt the cycle of violence. It is a pioneering and ambitious charity, with strong links and partnerships, and has also demonstrated it can effectively scale up its work.”

The 2021 GSK Impact Award recognises Redthread’s significant impact in the community and its commitment to health and wellbeing in London, Birmingham and Nottingham. Developing leaders in the charity sector is a key aim of the GSK IMPACT Awards programme and all winners are invited to build on their success and take part in a tailored leadership development programme run by The King’s Fund. Redthread will also be invited to join the GSK Impact Awards Network, a UK wide network of over 95 previous award winners who work together to develop leaders, find new ways of working and provide mutual support.

Commenting on the award, John Poyton OBE, CEO of Redthread said: “I am delighted that the judges of the highly coveted GSK IMPACT awards have recognised the incredible work of the whole Redthread team: from our frontline youth workers and dynamic workforce, our world-leading NHS clinical champions and of course the incredible young people we support- who’s resilience inspires us every day.

As we move forward after a most difficult year, it’s so encouraging that our achievements in scaling our hospital intervention and our behind the scenes infrastructure have been acknowledged. The support of The Kings Fund and GSK IMPACT awards is hugely motivating for us as we begin work on our ambitious new strategy. The accompanying leadership programme and network we can access as winners will be of great service as we strive to scale the impact of teachable moment interventions further- through promoting best practice, innovation and through sharing our insights from the frontline in hospitals to affect systemic change.”