Young People United in Making a Difference!

25th May 2016

The West Midlands Violence Prevention Alliance has launched a new scheme in order to help schools in the region deal with bullying and violence.

Six schools in Birmingham have signed up to the Mentor in Violence Prevention (MVP) model, which utilises a creative ‘bystander’ approach to gender based violence and bullying prevention. MVP engages young people as leaders, and facilitates them in considering values, attitudes, friendship, and playing their part in creating a positive and respectful school environment . Although the programme is being implemented across all Scottish secondary schools, this is the first time this model has been used in England.

The programme launched with mentors from each of the pilot schools gathering for a day at Moseley Rugby Club, where they were joined by former Irish rugby international and current Moseley head coach Kevin Maggs, to learn how they can be  good leaders among their peers and friends to their schoolmates.

Young people face significant and complex pressures, and the programme works to equip young people to make positive choices and be a positive influence in their communities. Three quarters of girls aged 11 to 21 say anxiety about experiencing sexual harassment negatively affects their lives in some way – from what they wear and where they go to how they feel about their bodies[1]. Issues such as this, along with many others including friendships, bullying, and relationships, are themes the young people will dig into.

Kevin said: “We wanted to show the students that MVP came from the sporting world and it was brilliant to see how engaging they were. They can be the ‘most valuable player’ at their school  through leading by example, discussing problems and challenging inappropriate attitudes and behaviour with their peers.”

Chief Inspector Dave Twyford said: “We were very grateful to Moseley Rugby Club for letting us hold the event here and also to Kevin for giving us his time to spend with the peer mentors. We had over 140 applications to become mentors in one school alone for and I am confident that this scheme will have a powerful impact in schools across the West Midlands.”

Bev Mabey, Executive Head of Washwood Heath Multi Academy Trust said: “Since its inception, the MVP Model has been implemented in a variety of academic, community and other educational settings across the United States, including dozens of universities and colleges and hundreds of high schools and middle schools. This scheme has been successfully implemented in Scotland and we are proud to be the first region in the country to use the MVP model.”

[1] Girl Guiding Attitudes Survey 2015 http://new.girlguiding.org.uk/latest-updates/making-a-difference/girls-attitudes-survey-2015/violence-against-women-and-girls