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An Introduction to Emily!

Hi, my name is Emily Collinsbeare and I'm one of the executive members and I have been involved with the FED for 10 years at a national level and before that I attended South West detached conferences in Newquay.

I have done detached youth work for almost 20 years and learnt from people who were committed to the communities and relationships they had with young people in them.

I have worked in Croydon for 11 years and feel I hold some professional history for the borough, knowledge of what has happened to reduce services, what the community and voluntary sector looks like, how policy has affected delivery, changes in youth socialisation and culture.

Croydon is a mixed borough, some southern parts are extremely affluent, with gated housing and celebrity neighbours. The rest of the borough is neighboured by 5 inner London boroughs including Lambeth, Southwark and Lewisham (but we are funded as an outer London borough).

We have managed to keep a detached and outreach service (6/7 full and part time staff) in my team, we have worked out over time the way to evidence our work and relevance with colleagues.

We make decisions about how our teams are deployed based on a decision making process involving strategic multi-agency meetings, ASB hotspots and incidents of youth crime, experienced staff knowledge, young people’s information, gangs YOS information.

Croydon has experienced a spike in youth crime (particularly knife crime) after 3 years of downwards reductions, due to this Croydon has been identified as one of 6 priority boroughs in London by MOPAC (mayor’s office for policing and crime).

In 2018 my team has known either the victim or perpetrator of all the youth deaths in Croydon and most of the critical injuries cases. We we the first ‘service’ at a stabbing of a 14 yr. old boy in the town centre on a Friday afternoon at 4pm at which there were 150 young people victims from around 10 different schools.

On a Thursday at a community football session we run, undercover police were waiting at the football pitch to pick up a young man for murder of a 17 yr. old (stabbing, also in the town centre 2 Sunday’s ago), he didn’t attend but staff did find a 14 inch sheathed machete which young people were searching for at the end of the session.

Detached and outreach work doesn’t have to be at this cutting edge of the escalation of youth violence and gangs . . . I believe in its importance as part of a community and opportunity for young people to relationships with safe, non-familia adults.

I still value that my learning of detached youth work was by driving a minibus around an estate and picking young people up to go to the beach for an evening to fly kites and BBQ.

Even in the context we currently work in there is a need to advocate for the importance of youth work in local communities, in parks and open spaces, on estates, near shops and transport hubs at non-conventional times and days.

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