Engage Trafford

‘Engage Trafford’ is a programme by the Salford Foundation intended to provide intensive mentoring and group activity sessions for young people.

The programme is 8-16 weeks with the average length of support lasting around 12 weeks.

Chris Hill is the team leader of target youth services for the Salford Foundation and oversees the ‘Engage Trafford’ programme.

He said: “We work with young people who are pre-social care involvement. Just to nip things in the bud really as an early intervention programme.

“The majority of our cohort who are referred to us predominantly need support around anger management and emotional regulation.”

Engage Trafford is commissioned by Trafford Council as part of their early help offering the borough.

Mr Hill added: “For our programme, the idea is to take young people off professional support and back down to universal services like your schools, GP’s and dentists.”

Engage Trafford is targeted to those between eight and 18 years old.

He said: “When you think about the development and social changes going from a primary school through to employment. It means we work with a broad range of people and obviously with different ages come different challenges.”

After a young person has been referred to the project a particular mentorship programme is devised to suit the individual.

Mr Hill said: “It’s really good, I love this programme and I love the job that I do. It is impactful and it’s really rewarding.”

He spoke of the importance of flexibility, stating: “You have to be flexible because if a young person comes to me and says, ‘this has happened, can we talk about this?’, I’ll scrap whatever I’ve planned for the session and focus on that because that is the primary need for that person on that particular day.

“And that is actually really impactful because they know that they can offload, they’ve got a safe space to discuss things and we can come up with solutions together.”

The Covid-19 pandemic meant that the programme was forced to go online for a long spell which Mr Hill said had a noticeable impact on young people.

He said: “Coming out of lockdowns, schools were an absolute godsend for us because they were a lot more open to having us come in.

“As the social situations and friendships for a lot of young people had deteriorated over the lockdowns. So we were there to help them when feeling overwhelmed.”

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