Charity to reach troubled young people via Wexham's emergency room

Adrian Williams

Adrian Williams

adrianw@baylismedia.co.uk

A charity is searching for volunteers to help young people escape from violence or those struggling with mental health issues.

Aik Saath – Together As One is looking for ‘hospital navigators’ to help young people who end up in hospital after a fight, assault or overdose.

Working with Thames Valley Violence Reduction Unit, the aim is to encourage young people in trouble to reflect on their situation and support them to access practical help.

Volunteers will be aged 18 and over and will be based in the emergency department of Wexham Park Hospital in Slough.

Navigators will be posted at 5pm to 9pm each day, as this is the period when people are most likely to be admitted for injuries consistent with youth violence or criminal exploitation.

Rob Deeks, CEO of the Slough-based charity, said: “There’s a growing understanding that when people are in the hospital, that is a reachable moment – they are more open to reconsidering the issues that are impacting their lives.

“For example, if a young person is in a gang and this has resulted in them being hurt in a fight, their time within the hospital can be an effective window to approach them.”

Hospital navigators will also support the young person in overcoming some of the challenges which are contributing to their vulnerability after leaving the hospital.

The scheme has already begun with vetting procedures and the hope is to begin deploying volunteers by the end of November.

Slough local area commander for Thames Valley Police, Gavin Wong, said: “Being a volunteer navigator could be so important for a young person who is in hospital at a time of trauma.

“That volunteer could be reaching a young person at a time they need it most and lead to them to take a more positive path in their life.”

The team will also engage with young people admitted for reasons associated with mental health issues, such as an attempted overdose.

Anyone interested in volunteering can visit forms.gle/dPxzVrQCPGpag4Yj9

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