Thursday, June 15, 2017

A slice of life - working with gangs.

Working with Gangs, plural, takes some juggling and 
only possible with a great devoted team.
This is one short phase in my working with Gangs.

During these hectic days -  we were handling all this within our own team. 
I was making contact and seeking co-operation from other agencies. 
Resulting from these efforts I called a case conference between probation officers, other local youth workers, police inspectors, social workers, my other colleagues and me.

Collecting all the facts about this one gang was a major item. 
These kids were indiscriminately disruptive, smashing up the local school youth centre and doing shops and the Jobcentre in a similar way. 
In fact, the day before this case conference, a number of the gang had been arrested in the market area for disrupting the Jobcentre and the court had them ‘bound over to keep the peace’. 
Other incidents had been reported: two shops had been raided; other shop windows smashed; fights in a local pub, and complaints from local people about late night vandalism and abuse. 
There was clearly much concern in the community. 
The conclusion of the meeting was to adopt a co-ordinated approach in which each agency used its particular skills and facilities for intervention. 
Intervention that was not just for the community’s benefit alone, but for the growth and development of these precious teenagers. 
The development we looked for was not to result in hardening them but in releasing them, which I believe is what the Good News is about.

A local probation officer told us “We only respond to situations in our profession; you [as a voluntary community-based organisation] are able to take initiatives.”

The Gang at this time were approximately twenty strong, but there were others who attached themselves to the gang for certain activities. 

Only the hard core were barred from the club; the remainder continued as members of the club for four evenings a week and were involved in other miscellaneous activities.
Those barred from the club were given special attention = street work.

Things continued to happen quickly. 

Certain gang members were arrested for burglary and other offences. 
Others were sent to detention centres and borstal for crimes committed a year before.

Life goes on.
Living out 'good news to the poor' is an ongoing process.
Not a flash in the pan.

Rest a while.
Then get on the bike again.

Love gives the energy .............