A series of three hard-hitting and impactful workshops were recently delivered to Huddersfield Town apprentices by James Riley of Get Away n Get Safe, known as “The Gang Man” on Twitter.
http://getaway-n-getsafe.co.uk/ was set up by James after working within the Criminal Justice System for over 18 years as a Probation Officer, specialising in Urban Street Gangs and Organised Crime Groups. As a result, the GANGS programme was established, and its mission is simple: “To educate, inspire and empower young people to take control of their future by rejecting the gang lifestyle”
The workshops looked at how young people get drawn into gang culture, become involved in criminal exploitation and the effect it has on their own futures and the impact on their families.
There was a very clear message about the law of ‘joint enterprise’ and the dangers and consequences of ‘bystander’ involvement.
Head of Player Care at Huddersfield Town FC, Adam Powell said: “The Academy run a “Life Skills” programme for all Academy players and this workshop has provided players and staff with real life scenarios of the consequences of making poor decisions and following the wrong path. James’ delivery was engaging and impactful and well received by the group.
“Academy players are role models and ambassadors for the club and community, so it is important that our young players have an understanding of the dangers involved and they are well placed to positively influence the young people who they interact with as their football careers progress.”
Comments from players:
“It was quite hard hitting and certainly makes you think.”
“Just makes you realise that following the crowd can have serious consequences even if you haven’t actually done anything.”
“It can be hard to walk away but made me realise that it’s important to make sure you’ve got the right people around you and that you question peoples intentions – not everyone is your friend.”
Head of Safeguarding Karen Crosland added: “We are delighted to support any initiatives which highlight the dangers of gang involvement and knife and gun crime in our communities and this piece of work delivered by James and WYP Prevention Initiative and Knife Crime Awareness Project is one of a number of pieces of work which our club and foundation are involved in”.
Following the GANGs workshops, a follow up meeting was arranged with West Yorkshire Police who delivered a powerful message to our U19 players around the Prevention Initiative. The objective of the session was to promote diversion away from gun and knife crime; the pitfalls of being associated to crime and gang related violence and the devastation being associated with gangs can cause to their futures, families and communities.