The SOS Project
SOS is a multiple award-winning service which offers intensive support to vulnerable young people to help them in the criminal justice system and those at risk.
It works with young people exposed to or at risk of violence, vulnerability and exploitation. The work encompasses gangs work and family support as well as child exploitation and human trafficking.
It uses carefully selected, professionally trained individuals who come from similar backgrounds as the young people they are supporting. They offer real understanding of the situations their young client’s face and can relate to the experiences they are going through.
“I have worked with Bernie and Elroy from St Giles Trust for five years as key partners in the Integrated Gangs Unit. They have added the vital and unique perspective of the ex-offender to our multi-agency gang work. They are rich in knowledge and generous with their commitment, and we have learnt together in collaboration, seeing many lives changed and communities made safe.”
Matt Watson, Children’s Services, Westminster Council
County Lines Interventions
SOS was one of the first services to offer a dedicated service addressing the issue of county lines. This is where vulnerable young people are targeted by drugs gangs to courier drugs across the country to establish new markets. SOS’s role is to work in partnership with all the authorities involved in county lines, help join up services, offer intensive support and interventions to the young people affected, act as their advocate with statutory agencies and provide expertise to professionals in the areas affected – some of whom will have had limited experience in this issue.
Partnership work with local authorities
SOS works in partnership with local authorities to offer a tailored package of support for young people affected by gangs and related issues such as weapons violence and county lines. The one to one support offered by our caseworkers helps each young person to identify and realise alternative aspirations and goals. It also works with young people at risk of getting involved in the criminal justice system. SOS aims to help make the communities in which it works a safer place for everyone. Gang crime in particular has consequences beyond those directly involved. By supporting young people who are involved in gangs, the benefits are considerable, including reductions in weapons crime and innocent victims.
Work in partnership with The Royal London Hospital and Barts NHS Health Trust
Two SOS caseworkers embedded in the major trauma unit of Royal London Hospital who offer support to young people who are admitted as a result of serious youth violence and sexual violence. This work supports the young person on discharge and in the community to help them stay safe and reduce the likelihood of future admissions. The caseworkers work closely with the clinical team in the hospital. This is a partnership project with Red thread.
Family Gangs Work
Through Lambeth’s Safer Stronger Families initiative we are supporting families in the borough affected by gangs. There are often wider family issues behind a young person’s involvement in gangs including poverty, housing problems, substance misuse at home and family separation. This project takes a ‘whole family’ approach and our caseworker supports the wider family to help overcome these issues whilst offering help to the young person.