Young people across London taught to save lives as ‘StreetDoctors’ thanks to National Lottery funding
20 Aug 2019 02:35 PM
StreetDoctors, a youth social action charity that equips young people most at risk of violence with the skills to act in a medical emergency, has been awarded over £230,000 from The National Lottery Community Fund, the largest funder of community activity in the UK.
The National Lottery money will support the charity in training volunteer medical, nursing and paramedic students to run workshops where they teach young people in the most at-risk areas in the UK what to do if someone is bleeding or unconscious following a violent event. StreetDoctors partners with community organisations, including youth offending teams and pupil referral units to deliver these life-saving skills.
One of StreetDoctors’ key hubs is London – the charity currently has six London volunteer teams from Barts and The London School of Medicine, UCL, King’s College London, St. George’s Hospital, Imperial College London and the Nursing Department at City University.
Of the capital’s 2.8 million young people (under 25), three quarters (75%) live in an area classified as being in the worst 40% for crime[i]. Last year alone[ii], saw nearly 15,000 knife offences in London, compared to total of over 47,000 offences across the country[iii].
Last year StreetDoctors set up 145 training sessions across London, reaching 990 young people in the capital, including some of the boroughs with the highest rate of youth violence: Lambeth, Southwark, Newham and Hackney. This year, thanks to the National Lottery funding, StreetDoctors will aim to deliver double that – teaching approximately 300 sessions reaching around 1,800 young people.
Across the UK last year, 810 sessions were taught, reaching over 4,030 young people, with 29 achieving a first aid at work accreditation. StreetDoctors has over 150 delivery partners in 16 cities across the UK.
The charity believes that deterrence alone is ineffective in changing attitudes. This is why the training sessions also play an important role in enabling young people to discuss violence, by focusing on highlighting to young people their role in preventing loss of life.
In each session, the group learn first aid skills, furthering their understanding of the consequences of knife crime. The charity has found that teaching the skills to act in a medical emergency has helped to raise the confidence of participants. In 2018, 85% of attendees said they would be willing and able to act if first aid is needed, whilst 94% said they would know what to do if someone is bleeding or unconscious.
Trustee and former StreetDoctors volunteer, Dr Rochelle Pierre, grew up around youth violence in Hackney, and recalls when someone close to her was injured following a violent incident:
“I was unaware of the ways to help, but thankfully an ambulance was called. In that situation, many young people are either scared of what will happen to them or don’t know what to do. The StreetDoctors training gives young people the chance to make an informed decision about what to do if they are in a similar situation, as they have learnt the skills of how to respond.”[iv]
Chanell Wallace, Presenter of recent BBC documentary Life After My Brother’s Murder, is backing the charity, and said:
“I am a huge supporter of StreetDoctors. I love what they do because they believe in young people and their potential to become part of the solution in their communities. It’s brilliant The National Lottery Community Fund is investing in this vital intervention, a really important part of solving the youth violence jigsaw by giving young people the skills to strengthen themselves and help overcome this epidemic.”[v]
Lucie Russell, CEO of StreetDoctors, said:
“Community groups, education and youth justice providers host our sessions because they believe in young people's potential to become part of the solution. And our delivery sessions work because they skill up young people in emergency first aid, providing safe spaces for them to explore attitudes to violence with impressive, evidenced results. Thank you so much to the National Lottery for enabling us to expand our reach and deepen our impact across the country.”[vi]
The National Lottery Community Fund is a member of the Government’s Serious Violence Taskforce, which aims to reduce and prevent violence. This is embodied in StreetDoctors’ ethos, which aims to use its experience to develop a public health trauma-informed line to youth violence.
Joe Ferns, UK Funding Director at The National Lottery Community Fund, said:
“StreetDoctors’ work empowers young people not just by giving them life-saving skills, but also an opportunity to talk about violence in their communities. This is an important part of reducing violence and discouraging the carrying of weapons by helping young people recognise they can be life savers through their actions and choices.”
The National Lottery Community Fund distributes money raised by National Lottery players for good causes. Last year it awarded over £214 million to projects across the UK supporting children and young people.
To find out more visit www.TNLCommunityFund.org.uk
[i] 1.4, A Public Health Approach to Serious Youth Violence: Supporting Evidence, GLA Strategic Crime Analysis, July 2019
[ii] year ending March 2019, see below
[iii] Crime in England and Wales: Year Ending March 2019, Office for National Statistics, July 2019
[iv] See Dr. Rochelle Pierre’s biography below.
[v] Further comment from Chanell Wallace can be seen below.
[vi] Further comment from Lucie Russell is available below.
[vii] Hospital admissions for youths assaulted with sharp objects up almost 60%, NHS England, 9.02.19
Notes to Editors
FULL COMMENT: Lucie Russell, CEO at Street Doctors:
“StreetDoctors provides an empowering intervention that skills up young people to save lives. With 20 teams in 16 cities across the UK, including London, our youth social action movement teaches lifesaving skills to thousands of young people at risk of violence. Our movement works because hundreds of young healthcare students volunteer their time to teach young people because they care passionately about reducing youth violence. Community groups, education and youth justice providers host our sessions because they believe in young people's potential to become part of the solution. And our delivery sessions work because they skill up young people in emergency first aid, providing safe spaces for them to explore attitudes to violence with impressive, evidenced results. Thank you so much to the National Lottery for enabling us to expand our reach and deepen our impact across the country.”
Dr Rochelle Pierre, Trustee and former volunteer of StreetDoctors, aged 30, is now a doctor working in intensive care at Queen’s Hospital. After graduating from her first degree, Rochelle decided at age 20 to become a doctor as she didn’t see many doctors from her own background (as a young black woman hailing from Hackney) and wanted to act as a role model for other young people from disadvantaged backgrounds and help people. Whilst doing research at Royal London Hospital in Medical School, Rochelle saw victims of youth violence and began volunteering at StreetDoctors.
Rochelle has said:
“I volunteered because StreetDoctors approaches youth with a refreshing angle by allowing them to gain life skills and highlighting the consequences of violence. The way [StreetDoctors] teaches is very different from other methods of teaching first aid that I’ve experienced as it’s centred on young people and is very interactive.”
“We [StreetDoctors] give reminder cards out in the workshops for the attendees to keep in their pockets or phone case so they’ll be reminded of what to do. In most cases, calling an ambulance is more likely but taking this step is important. StreetDoctors gives the young people the chance to make the decision of what to do (gives options) rather than just running away.”
Chanell Wallace, Supporter of StreetDoctors and Presenter of recent BBC documentary Life After My Brother’s Murder, has shared her story:
“My own experience of youth violence had devastating effects on myself and my family as we lost my brother to knife crime. That’s why I am now dedicating my work to raising awareness of the issues that cause violence and the solutions that work. I am a huge supporter of StreetDoctors. I love what they do because they believe in young people and their potential to become part of the solution in their communities. They are showing young people that you are not destined by the pain that could be going on around you but can be in control. Young people are facing issues thrown at them whilst growing up in a world that is challenging and unpredictable. StreetDoctors empowers young people by immersing them in training that means they learn the skills that can save lives just as doctors do. It’s brilliant the National Lottery Community Fund is investing in this vital intervention, a really important part of the solving youth violence jigsaw by giving young people the skills to strengthen themselves and help overcome this epidemic.”
About The National Lottery Community Fund
We are the largest community funder in the UK – we’re proud to award money raised by National Lottery players to communities across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Since June 2004, we have made over 200,000 grants and awarded over £9 billion to projects that have benefited millions of people.
We are passionate about funding great ideas that matter to communities and make a difference to people’s lives. At the heart of everything we do is the belief that when people are in the lead, communities thrive. Thanks to the support of National Lottery players, our funding is open to everyone. We’re privileged to be able to work with the smallest of local groups, right up to UK-wide charities, enabling people and communities to bring their ambitions to life.
StreetDoctors is a Youth Social Action Movement founded in 2008 by medical students in Liverpool, after realising the majority of the 11 to 16-year-old young offenders attending a general first-aid class they were teaching had known someone who had been stabbed or shot – or had been a victim themselves. StreetDoctors’ work empowers young people to become StreetDoctors in their own communities, helping to keep themselves and others safe.
The need for StreetDoctors:
Violence is the third leading cause of young people in Europe. Some of these deaths happen because the people present do not know what to do; they panic and don’t call for help. Teaching people to call 999 and effectively deliver simple first aid can and does save lives.
- The peak age of hospital admission due to violence in the UK is 18 years old.
- Young people who are fearful often carry knives for protection. Safer London Foundation
- Violence shows one of the strongest inequality gradients, with emergency hospital admission rates for violence being around five times higher in the most deprived communities than in the most affluent. Department of Health
- Admissions for all injuries caused by an assault with knife or other sharp objects have gone up by almost a third since 2012-13, from 3,849 to 4,986 last year. Admissions involving youngsters aged between 10 and 19 increased nearly twice as fast, with 656 hospital admissions in 2012-13 up to 1,012 last year – a rise of around 55%. NHS England[vii]
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