An ACTION4YOUTH Initiative

A programme designed to support vulnerable young people

The Breakout Programme is a hard-hitting 12-week, anti-knife and gang programme, designed to bring positive change to the lives of young people at risk of being sucked into crime and of losing purpose in their lives.
Developed to have maximum impact The Breakout Programme is tailored to individual needs and uses a package of mentoring, classroom sessions and outdoor education. We work with schools to identify participants, typically those displaying various early indicators of susceptibility to crime e.g. risk of exclusion from school, disruptive behaviour, poor school attendance, anti-social behaviour and possibly already having had some negative contact with the police. Some schools also like to target pupils for very early intervention with the aim of reducing certain behaviour patterns occurring.

How prevalent is knife crime?

Knife crime is rising at an alarming rate. More than a fifth of offences involving knives and offensive weapons were committed by children, with convictions at a 10-year high (CYP Now Jan 2020). Many carrying knives say initially it’s for their own protection, yet sadly evidence shows they are more likely to become a victim with the knife being turned on them. Studies also show the link between poor mental health and knife-crime, and the trajectory into gangs. Knife crime devastates families and communities, it is vital we invest in trusted interventions that really work. We need to reach them before they reach for a knife.

How does The Breakout Programme work?

The targeted intervention runs for 0.5 day each week over a 12-week period for groups of 10 young people. Schools know their pupils well and can easily highlight which students identify at risk.

Across the 12 weeks, with a unique range of 121 mentoring, classroom based sessions and outdoor education activities young people hear personal experiences, reflect on their own circumstances and explore alternative choices.. They are supported to develop the mental resilience, motivation and tools to make positive decisions. Sessions include personal goal setting as well visits from drug and alcohol services, an ex-offender focussing on County Lines, street first-aid where they will learn life-saving skills and outdoor education building team dynamics, confidence and leadership skills.

The programme starts with 1:1 mentoring with an experienced A4Y mentor to establish a rapport and set goals using our evaluation tool, Outcomes Star. These valuable 1:1 sessions continue throughout the programme to track progress and build on the foundations learnt during the activity sessions. Helping keep the focus on reflecting with the young person their behaviour and choices to enable them to make more positive decisions going forwards.

Schools say The Breakout Programme is essential in supporting young people at risk and helping them re-engage with education.

How was it developed?

Recognising more teenagers are carry knives and the increasing need to support vulnerable young people, Action4Youth developed a pilot initiative. Funded by Thames Valley Police, in February 2020 the pilot worked with students from a number of local schools. The project was very successful, feedback from participants and schools demonstrated that the programme made an impact and a 12 week intervention could save lives.

Want to find out more?

For an informal chat about how the programme could work in your school contact Programme Director, Emily Davis on 0300 003 2334

We run regular bite size webinars for schools to hear more about the programme and case studies. Places are limited, to secure your place contact [email protected]

Action4Youth Breakout Programme designed to bring positive change to the lives of young people
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What young people say about the programme

Before Breakout Kelvina (14), thought knife crime exciting, but not now:

“It’s not fun. It’s a reality, it’s not a joke.”

Macy (15) whose brother was in a gang, says Breakout has helped her work towards a positive future:

“I used to think that it was all cool to hang out with people who were doing drugs and getting themselves into gangs, but now I realise that it does mess with your head and affects your family, and getting a good job.”

Harvey* (15) said:

“I can see how devastating it would be for my family and friends if things got out of hand. I thought I had things under control, but I see how quickly that could change.”

Ask Harry

If you’re a teacher and interested in The Breakout Programme and would like to know more, you can book a call with Harry Evans, Action4Youth Business Development Manager.

Please select either a 30-minute quick telephone call or a 1-hour video call and schedule your meeting with Harry.  

Have a few questions and want quick answers?

The Breakout Programme is a 12-week initiative aimed at preventing vulnerable young people from engaging in knife crime and gang activities. It combines mentoring, classroom sessions and outdoor education to bring about positive changes in the lives of at-risk youths.

The programme addresses knife crime by educating young people about the risks and consequences of carrying knives, including the increased likelihood of becoming victims themselves. It also tackles underlying issues such as poor mental health, which is often linked to violent behaviour and gang involvement.
Schools collaborate with Action4Youth to identify students at risk of criminal behavior based on indicators such as poor attendance, behavioral issues or previous encounters with law enforcement. The programme then tailors its interventions to meet the individual needs of these students, helping them re-engage with education and make healthier life choices.
The Breakout Programme has demonstrated significant impact in preventing at-risk youths from engaging in criminal activities. Feedback from schools and participants indicates that the programme not only re-engages students with their education but also equips them with the skills to avoid crime, potentially saving lives.
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