Working with families of gang-affected young people

15 November

Jurys Inn, Birmingham


Junior Smart
Business Development Manager and Head of SOS Gangs Project, St Giles Trust


November 15, 2018 - 9:30 am


November 15, 2018 - 3:45 pm


Jurys Inn, Birmingham 245 Broad Street, Birmingham , B1 2HQ   View map
StGT logo PNG (2)

Families need support where young people are gang-involved, or at risk of becoming so. There are important reasons why this support is so essential.

The government plans a national roll-out of a programme, being trialled in north London, of evicting families from social housing where a young person in that family is gang affiliated. But not all gang involved young people live in social housing, and the implication is that parents are able to prevent their children from becoming involved with gangs.

Interventions with young people themselves work more effectively if the whole family is involved.

Many parents know their teenagers are at high risk of gang involvement and criminal activity, but have lost the ability to communicate with them. Others have one gang-involved child already and fear that younger siblings will follow the same path. Young people within the sphere of influence of gangs can be drawn further in if family members are threatened.

Even if families are already involved with statutory services, the relationship may not be working out well. People with already chaotic lives struggle to navigate a range of services, most of which offer only short term responses. There can also be a lack of credibility and a perception by the family that the realities of their circumstances are not truly understood.

The St Giles Trust adopts a very different approach with its Lambeth Family Gangs Project. This is characterised by:

  • A clear recognition that the objective is to reduce the risks faced by the young person and the family
  • A holistic and highly personalised approach to each family
  • Using staff and volunteers with lived experience of gang involvement and the criminal justice system
  • Longer term involvement with families and the young person
  • Brokering between the multiple services which exist
  • Picking up on ‘hotspots’ where prevention work is needed (for example, where a school identifies concerns about girls being at risk of sexual exploitation by gang members)

This learning day will highlight the urgent need for support by parents and families of young people who are – or who are at risk of becoming – gang-involved. It will analyse the pressures and sequence of events which lead young people to become gang-involved, and parents to lose control. And, using the experience and case studies from the Lambeth Family Gangs Project and SOS, it will set out approaches to supporting families which have been effective.

The families of gang-involved young people, or those who are at risk of gang involvement, are usually in desperate need of support, but cannot access the right support.

Parents have a diminishing influence over their children as they get older, and as they move into the sphere of influence of peers and older teenagers. Young people are becoming gang-involved earlier, and their involvement can have serious consequences for the whole family, especially their siblings.

What can be done to help parents communicate with their children, reduce risk for themselves and their family, and either prevent their child from becoming gang involved, or distance them from the influence of gangs?

This learning day is facilitated by Junior Smart from the St Giles Trust’s specialist Family Gangs Project based in Lambeth. It will consider:

  • The impact of gang affiliation on the wider family, and the risks faced by family members
  • The current barriers to accessing effective family services – what exactly isn’t working?
  • The alternative approach of the Family Gangs project, including the essential role of lived experience
  • Case studies highlighting particular practice issues
  • Prevention work, including referrals from SOS+

Junior Smart joined St Giles Trust in 2006 upon his release from prison from where he was given a 10-year sentence for a drug and gang related offence. With support from St Giles Trust he set up and developed the award-winning SOS Gangs project, London’s largest ex-offender gangs exit programme. Now covering 13 London boroughs and employing a team comprising predominately of ex-offenders, the SOS Gangs Project is on target to reach over 600 young people caught up in serious group offending and has won numerous awards and recognition, including the South London Press Awards 2008 and the Centre for Social Justice Awards in 2009.

Junior Smart is not only a Youth Leader but a qualified trainer and Gangs Consultant. Despite dropping out of education at the age of 14 he has achieved a first-class degree in Youth Work and Distinction in his MA in Criminology, Youth Crime and Justice. He is currently undertaking a PhD at Middlesex University.

His main focus has been centred on Violence Desistance in all its forms and he regularly designs new projects, feeds into public policy through Public Policy Exchange and the Centre for Social Justice and consults with the Met Police as well as other statutory bodies on best practice.

Junior was listed in the Evening Standard’s list of 1000 Influential Londoners in 2014 and 2015 and SOS Gangs has won numerous awards: The Charity Awards 2014, The Third Sector Excellence Awards 2011, the Centre for Social Justice Awards 2010 and The South London Press Awards 2008.


Agenda (subject to change)

9.30 – 10.00

Registration and coffee

10.00 – 10.15

Welcome, introductions and aims of the day

10.15 – 11.00

The impact of gang affiliation on families

11.00 – 11.30

Current barriers faced by families in accessing services

11.30 – 11.55


11.55 – 12.55

The Lambeth Family Gangs Project approach

12.55 – 13.50


1350 – 14.50

The Lambeth Family Gangs project approach

14.50 – 15.00

Quick tea break

15.00 – 15.45

Prevention through local knowledge


Close of session

  • Children’s social workers
  • Schools
  • Services for children excluded from school
  • Pupil referral units
  • Missing children services
  • Specialist gangs services
  • Specialist Child Sexual exploitation services
  • Looked after children’s services
  • Child sexual exploitation services
  • Children’s charities
  • Youth offending services
  • Police
  • Social housing
  • Services working with vulnerable adults
  • Community health services

£130 + VAT per place

A *team deal discount is available when you book 3 or 5 places together

*3 places (3rd place half price) £325 +VAT

*5 places  (5th place free) £520 + VAT

Please ring 0115 9163104 for further information.

The delegate rate includes an information pack, lunch and refreshments throughout the day.


Booking Terms and Conditions

Cancellations received up to and including 25th October 2018 will be refunded in full less an administration fee of 25%. Cancellations received after this date will be liable for payment in full.  Team deals are non-cancellable, but substitute delegates will be accepted.

The full invoice amount will remain payable if you fail to attend the event, however, substitute delegates will be accepted up until, and including, the day of the event.



Confirmation of booking:

Your booking will be confirmed by email where possible (and by fax or post otherwise), and you will be provided with directions to the venue and details on nearby hotel accommodation. If you do not receive such acknowledgement, please contact Central Conference Consultants Ltd on 0115 916 3104.

The training will take place in Birmingham City Centre:

Jurys Inn

245 Broad Street,

Birmingham ,

B1 2HQ

Tel: +44 121 606 9000

Getting to the venue:


New Street, Snow Hill and Moor Street train stations are all within 6 minutes walk of the venue.

Car parking and direction information

Follow this link for a downloadable map, directions and car park information:

Jurys Inn Car parking Fee

£1.50 for 1 hr

£3.00 for 2 hrs

£4.00 for 3 hrs

£6.00 for up to 6 hrs

£9.50 for up to 10 hrs

£14.20 for up to 24 hrs


Rooms on site at Jurys Inn

Premier Inn nearby and many other hotels in the vicinity