The SOS+ Project helps prevent disadvantaged young people at risk of becoming involved in gang crime and serious youth violence. It offers interactive sessions in schools, pupil referral units and colleges which offer practical tools and knowledge to young people on how to steer clear from violence and crime.
SOS+ evolved in 2010 as a development to our existing SOS Project which offers ex-offender led support to young people in London involved in serious youth crime and weapons violence. Our approach is delivered by professionally trained ex-offenders with direct experience of the issues they are talking about.
It aims to:
• Debunk myths and stereotypes around gangs, deglamourize the lifestyle and expose the realities of becoming involved in gangs and weapons crime
• Equip young people with practical tools and strategies they can use to stay steer clear.
• Encourage young people to stay engaged in education and positive activities
Thurrock Council Community Safety Lead.
“Sessions are engaging, informative and well-tailored to the audience age and shows understanding of gang issues. No matter how many times I see SOS present I always learn something new. All sessions work because of the unique position of the presenters who have lived the life of a gang member and tell young people the stark reality, not the hype that they believe. They are also experienced facilitators and deal with audience challenges expertly.”
A series of individually tailored modules cover areas such as knife crime, the realities of prison, sexual exploitation and the impact on victims. We work closely with each school or host prior to the sessions to learn about their needs to ensure we can adapt the sessions to meet them.
The structure is aimed to encourage discussion and interaction. Alongside the talks, role play and interactive DVDs are used.
Our staff can remain in school after sessions to answer any one-to-one questions from pupils and offer further support if needed.
We can offer the sessions anywhere within England and Wales
SOS+ has recently developed a programme called BRAVE (Building Resilience Against Violence and Extremism) targeted at schools who have reported concerns around young people becoming radicalised. This is delivered in partnership with ConnectFutures – a social enterprise whose specialisms include countering extremism. The BRAVE Programme has now been approved by the Home Office.
LIVVE targets groups of at risk of gang activity, exploitation or youth violence in the first half of a term over a series of sessions. At the beginning and end of these sessions, the young people are risk assessed and those who remain at a high-risk are offered one-to-one support sessions in the next half term.