Northwick Park A&E recruits caseworkers to steer kids away from crime and gang culture
- Credit: Archant
Northwick Park’s A&E department has recruited specialist caseworkers to help steer young people away from crime and gangs.
The hospital in Watford Road has teamed up with St Giles Trust, a charity which empowers people to get the help they need, to run an 18-month pilot funded by Brent Council.
Caseworkers Lauren Fraser and Tamecka Lumsden are working alongside doctors and nurses to identify vulnerable 12- to 25-year-olds and provide guidance and support.
A&E consultant Lauren said: “We recognised a gap in service provision for young people coming through the door that were victims of youth violence.
“They would come in, get treated and leave and there was nothing else we could do. It was frustrating so it’s great to have this in-house support.”
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Specialist caseworker and mum-of-two Tamecka said: “I fell in with the wrong crowd when I was young, had my first child at 16 and served several prison sentences.
“I had little education and thought criminal activity was the only way I could get what I wanted because I had no money.
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“My story is no different from many others. I didn’t have anyone within a professional capacity looking out for me and showing me that there was a better way of living.”
Tamecka and another colleague, Anthony Gordon, meet patients after clinical staff have treated them and asked whether they would like to access the service.
Tamecka added: “A lot of these young people feel let down by authority figures and are very angry. I’ve had people shouting at me and telling me to push off but you have to see past that.
“There was no support when I left jail so I just started doing free courses to improve myself and worked through a succession of jobs until I became a youth worker.
“We show people there is a way to build a better future - for themselves and those they care about - and help them create this through support, advice and training.”
They encourage young people to think about consequences and actions through one-to-one mentoring, advocacy and signposting to other support agencies, such as housing, alcohol and drug support, education, training and employment.
“It’s funny to think that all those bad personal experiences I had are now being used to positively help other young people,” she added.