Raising Your Game is a three-part project. All parts are interlinked but centrally work around supporting young people with a learning disability or communication difficulty who have offended, or are identified as likely to offend.
Part 1: working with young people
The first part of Raising Your Game is a crime avoidance initiative, designed to empower young people who have offended, or are identified as likely to offend. By providing clear advice, positive activities and life-skill courses, we aim to help young people build the confidence they need to make more informed life choices and work towards a better future.
Part 2: participation
The second part of the project is to work with this group of young people to help them inform practise and influence policy. Young people are rarely consulted on these issues, especially young people with invisible disabilities and difficulties, so this project will create best-practice guides on including young people in making decisions about services that concern them.
Part 3: working for professionals
We collaborate with a range of professionals working within the criminal justice system, the education system and in local organisations who are working with young people with additional communication needs. We are here to help professionals change the way they work to better support these young people to steer away from a life of crime or reoffending.
A personal account
Many public services do not take the additional support needs of this group of individuals into account, which can lead to them feeling isolated.
At school I used to bunk off sometimes. I had two teachers I didn’t like and in subjects I found hard. Basically, my way of sorting out the lessons I didn’t like was to bunk off and sort myself out – get away from it all.
When I think about why I was bunking off it’s because I didn’t like the lesson – I used to find the lessons hard, boring, and if I didn’t understand something I didn’t want to be there. I wasn’t seen in the class room but I was noticed when I skipped class.
I got caught bunking off once. Me and the group of girls I was with ran down the road and I was left behind. When the school’s office manager caught up with me I had to go back to school and sit outside the head mistress’ office. I had to sit there and be quiet. Sometimes I felt bad and sometimes I would have a big sigh of relief. Because if you don’t like a certain lesson you sometimes feel good about missing it – don’t you?
The school told me about Raising Your Game. I started doing a project in my community, a gardening project. I think otherwise I would have been doing nothing and hanging out in the streets, up to no good I’m sure. I’m really enjoying making new friends and learning new things like when to plant different flowers in different months.