Khulisa publishes Birmingham feasibility study with Barrow Cadbury Trust

With support from the Transitions to Adulthood initiative, at Barrow Cadbury Trust, Khulisa is delighted to publish a feasibility study into the specific needs of young adults, aged 18-25 in the Birmingham region, with a particular focus on youth violence in the post-pandemic world.

Given our background, we focused specifically on those young people who lack access to services and who have experienced adverse childhood experiences, such as poverty, drug or alcohol misuse, domestic or street violence, and mental health issues.

This report is a result of 6 months of research, surveys, and interviews across the sector with voluntary and peer organisations.

“I see a lot of young people involved in gang activities, a lot of county lines, a lot of CSE… some feel they have no other opportunities… A generational trauma and inherited attitude… More earlier interventions are needed to limit the high levels of violence we see in 18-25 year olds” - WMPC School link officer
“Criminal Justice System provides a lot of support but once a sentence is completed the services stop” - Preparation for adulthood
“Organisations working with young people need to be more connected… An office with multiple support agencies under one roof… no retelling of their story for a young person… I want everyone to have a community hug” - Jonah’s Project

The study highlights not only some barriers and gaps in service provision for 18-25 year olds, but also potential solutions. Current services are dealing with an increased need, including a high youth population and a growing knife crime problem. 

  • Mental health and wellbeing is tracked as an indicator to violence, and wellbeing rates are low in a number of Birmingham wards, particularly Perry Common, Lozells, Castle Vale, and Erdington. 
  • These areas are not only locally recognised as deprived or ranking low on wellbeing indexes, but they have also been identified as some of the most deprived nationally.
  • Where services are available for young people, they are often linked to their school or educational provider, or probation or other criminal justice provider. If they lack access to one of these services, young people are struggling to access support until they reach crisis point, be it physical, psychological, or both.

Our research highlights potential solutions to these problems, including; 

  • For services to be centralised and easily accessible to young people.
  • For services to reach young people early on (both in age, and situation), and crucially to offer pathways of support beyond school years. Our own experience shows that this is a need that has grown since the pandemic. 
  • For specific community interventions to be designed for those who are already deemed ‘too old’ or who are out of education.

With special thanks to Beatfreeks, Birmingham Children’s Trust, Grace Foundation, Birmingham and Solihull Women’s Aid, Centre for Justice Innovation, Preparation for Adulthood, Prince’s Trust, Redthread, Jonah’s project, West Midlands Police, West Midlands Police and Crime Commission, West Midlands VRU, YMCA Birmingham as well as to Transition to Adulthood, managed and convened by Barrow Cadbury Trust.

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