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Whatever It Takes launched to help children break free from the destructive cycle of crime

Release Date: 27 January 2021

A new programme – Whatever It Takes (WIT) Kingston & Richmond – has launched to enable children in Richmond upon Thames to break free from the destructive cycle of crime.

WIT has recruited the very best professionals in teaching, social work, police, health and youth offending, to act as 'Guides' who will build relationships with at risk children and do 'whatever it takes' to support sustainable achievement of positive aspirations and to escape from criminality. The child will have the focused and consistent attention of a highly-skilled practitioner who will be able to guide them through life, whilst also improving their literacy, numeracy and communications skills as they build better lives for themselves.

The programme, the first of its kind in England, has been developed by Whatever It Takes, a new charity, and will support the borough’s Youth Offending Service, provided by Achieving for Children (AfC) recently rated 'good overall' by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Probation inspectors. The programme will work intensively with twenty children across Richmond and Kingston for about 18 months.

It is based on the Breaking Cycles Model which focuses on the aspirations of the child or young person themselves, finding the “hook” that enables them to connect with the experienced WIT Guide and keep them involved. These ingredients have already been applied successfully at Pause, founded in 2013 by WIT’s chair Sophie Humphreys OBE, which works in 35 locations across the UK to break the cycle of women having multiple children taken into care.

Michael O’Connor, the Lead Officer for Early Help, Youth Justice and Partnerships at Achieving for Children, said:

'We are really excited to be leading the way in youth justice services and system change. We know how difficult it is for children - especially those who have experienced trauma in their lives - to break free from the cycle of crime. The WIT programme will allow us to work intensively with these children and will help improve outcomes for children, families and communities.'

Cllr Penny Frost, Chair of the Education and Children's Services Committee for Richmond Council, added:

'It's exciting that Richmond Council is piloting Whatever It Takes to further support and protect children, who all deserve a fair chance at living happy and successful lives.

'The Guides who will work with the children in the WIT programme are equipped with the time and skill to do whatever it takes to break the destructive cycle of crime for good – and I look forward to seeing the outcomes.'

Michael Steel, Chief Executive of Whatever It Takes, said:

'We are very happy that we have launched the first of our five WIT Team pilot programmes in Kingston and Richmond, in partnership with Achieving for Children. Whatever It Takes is determined to bring change to the youth criminal justice system so that children and young people, caught in the destructive cycle of crime, are given the support they need to break free and build positive lives for themselves. We are really looking forward to supporting the first WIT Team as it starts its work with 20 young people in Kingston and Richmond.'


Notes for editors

If you are a journalist and would like further information about this press release, contact Fenna Maynard on 020 8487 5182.

Reference: P043/21

Updated: 14 July 2021