Winifred Robinson follows intensive work going on in Coventry with a group of nine to 13-year-olds already in trouble with the police or in danger of being excluded from school.
The youngsters are on the Youth Justice Board's 'inclusion support programme', with activities ranging from fishing to family therapy aimed at addressing their behaviour. Some have already been in trouble with the police, others are referred following school exclusions, because older brothers are involved in crime or because of general concerns about anti-social behaviour.
Winifred also follows a unique scheme being piloted in London which addresses wider groups of youngsters before they start at secondary school. The courses include anger management classes and workshops highlighting the dangers of gang activity, with the idea originally coming from America. Growing Against Gangs involves a unique collaboration between police, schools and voluntary organisations. The government believes that targeting children close to the age of criminality provides a real opportunity to set them on a better path in life.
Mitchell, 10, is at the first stages of this work - he is one of four children and has been in trouble at school and in his community. His mum, Lisa, has welcomed input from Carl, the YISP worker, and is pleased that targeted activities with Mitchell have given her time to spend with her other children. She is also learning how to impose stricter boundaries and already sees that Mitchell's behaviour is improving.