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INTERVIEW ray spotlight on photography by louise haywood-schiefer R

aymond Douglas went in to youth work straight from school, having grown up in a

community with high levels of crime, drugs and prostitution. He always felt the need to make a diff erence, rather than becoming a statistic. His philoso- phy is that – even though some young people are born in deprived areas and society has labelled them – given the opportunity, the majority of young people wouldn’t act out this self- fulfi lling prophecy of a life of crime. In his early twenties, he went

on to qualify as an adult education teacher in order to gain a better understanding of the theory of learning and behavioural change. At this time, there was a very obvious rise in gangs and serious youth violence across the UK. Raymond felt that traditional youth work was no longer fi t for purpose to engage this social pandemic,

10 | October 2016 |


Meet the man with a mission to change perceptions around gang violence and to give the disadvantaged hope for a better future

which led him to launch Anti Youth Violence. T is intervention aims to reduce the number of young people at risk of life-threatening behaviour relating to gun, gang and knife crime. Anti Youth Violence has been

successfully delivered to young people throughout the UK within schools, Pupil Referral Units, prisons and Youth Off ending Services. It became clear that there was a need to build practi- tioners’ CPD in how to engage young people at risk, giving rise to a new training programme called Gangology.

Why training and how did you start?

T e desperate need for training of youth practitioners became more apparent, especially with the rise of gangs and the resulting fatalities. Practitioners who had studied youth work clearly had not been given the

My passionate interest in human behaviour and an ability to translate critical issues helps me to be well received, both by young people and practitioners

tools to manage this problem and were in urgent need of training to bring them up to date with issues such as trauma, music and violence, father defi cit, ‘postcodism’ and viewing gang violence as a public health issue. Anti Youth Violence initially began in Birmingham, which gained a lot of national exposure for a series of gang-related incidents. I started by studying a wide range of subjects – from the history of violence, public speaking and message mastery to internet marketing. T is led me to develop cutting-edge content, including a short fi lm called On Road which won the Best Short Film

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