The award-winning Greater Manchester charity, Mancunian Way are taking to the streets of Salford with their Stay Safe project.

Stay Safe is an outreach project that works across Greater Manchester and visits Salford twice a week to engage with young people, to encourage them to make positive choices and prevent the risk of them getting involved with crime and antisocial behaviour.

Nick Buckley, Chief Executive and Founder of Mancunian Way, spoke on prevention and intervention being important in keeping young people out of trouble.

He said: “We concentrate on young people because I’m a big believe in prevention and intervention.

“Into the 19, 20, 21’s, they’ve got a decade of dysfunctionality and are involved in criminality.

“Why do we wait 10 years to do something? Let’s change young people’s lives at the very beginning, it’s better for them and it’s better for the whole society.”

Stay Safe has been building relationships with young people across Salford for three years; from giving them hot chocolate and someone to go to for advice to helping with CVs and employability skills.

Nick said: “At first it’s really difficult and everyone thinks you’re undercover police or a paedophile, we get the same reaction everywhere we go.

“But over the weeks and months you break down those barriers, you have conversations, they get to know you, they start to trust you.

“That’s when you can start having some serious conversations with them about what are they doing with their lives, sometimes they just have the wrong information.”

According to the Office For National Statistics Crime in England and Wales police force area databases; Greater Manchester had a crime rate of 328,268 in the year ending June 2019.

While the North West has the second highest number of crimes committed, at 753,795 coming in second to London.

The high number of crimes has caused concern amongst Salford parents, including Carole Moore.

Carole said: “If you’re letting your kid run wild in the streets, they’ll think they can get away with anything they want.

“I don’t let my kids play out unless I can see them, just because anything can happen.

“You see big groups of lads on the streets, I see people doing drugs – I don’t want my kids to play out unless I am there.

“It’s scarier bringing your kids into the world.”

Nick Buckley, Chief Executive and Founder of Mancunian Way spoke on the Stay Safe project helping the youth of Salford. Photo Credit: Phoebe Walters

Stay Safe aim to prevent fear of young people amongst parents, through educating and helping those young people who may not get the same support at home or in their personal lives.

Nick said: “Us handing out cups of hot chocolate will break down barriers.

“If they come over just to drink hot chocolate and then walk away, we haven’t managed to talk to them but in a few months’ time, they may think you know what, I might actually chat to these guys.

“We don’t solve anything over night, it takes weeks and months but to start, you have to have them talking to you.”

Image credit: Phoebe Walters

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