‘Ask Me’ Ambassador programme
8 November 2019
Waltham Forest launched the ‘Ask Me’ Ambassador programme in October 2019 - empowering local residents to engage with young people in their communities.
‘Ask Me’ Ambassadors will be trained to support young people:
- help signpost them towards positive decision-making and the comprehensive borough-wide support services that exist;
- steer them away from gang-related activity or serious youth violence.
The time commitment is only 4 hours per month and comprehensive training and support is offered for all Ambassadors.
They currently have 22 volunteers signed up to become Ambassadors and the first cohort of twelve have been trained by the Ask Me team and have already been deployed at events across the borough.
They are looking to have 40 Ambassadors working across the borough by the end of March 2020.
100% of attendees rated the training as ‘excellent’. Further, 100% of attendees felt they were better equipped to handle interactions with ‘at risk’ young people following the training. Training provided by We Can Work It Out Ltd, featured comprehensive input from Professor Simon Harding, from University of West London’s Gang Research Centre, who was able to explain to Ambassadors what is fueling the rise in gang related activity and youth violence. The local safer neighbourhood team were able to feed in the local context.
Ambassadors come from a wide range of backgrounds but when applying for the role many of the motivations for taking part were similar:
- “To be able to make a positive difference in my community. Gang violence impacts in all of us”
- “To encourage and motive young people on making the right choices”
- “I'm an ex police officer who grew up in Leyton. I want help stem the violence on the borough“
Do you want to find out more about how you can become an Ambassador? Find out how you can be part of the next cohort here.
The Ask Me Service also offers an online resource, developed with young people in the borough, to answer questions about gang life and signs that young people are becoming involved in gang related crime. It also offers the community an opportunity to ask any question not covered and these will be answered quickly by We Can Work It Out’s expert network and posted alongside the other FAQs.
The Team have also launched a Community Directory on their website to signpost Ambassadors and members of the community to the valuable support and resources across the borough to help young people (and their families) who are at risk of involvement in gangs.