Strategic Plan 2019-24

The Board of Trustees has recently approved our new Strategic Plan for the next five years.

The plan articulates not only where we are going and the actions needed to make progress, but also how we will know we have been successful.

It will be used to set priorities; focus energy and resources; strengthen operations; ensure that employees and other stakeholders are working toward common goals; establish agreement around intended outcomes/results; and assess and adjust our direction in response to a changing environment.

Positive Steps awarded £50K by BBC Children in Need

Positive Steps in Oldham have been awarded a grant of £50.000 over 2 years by BBC Children in Need. This grant will fund additional support for young carers aged 14 to 19 and will help make a difference to the lives of disadvantaged children and young people right here in Oldham.

The funding will support a new project “Young Carers SHINE” aimed specifically at engaging more young carers over 14 and supporting them to develop the skills to become peer mentors to younger carers.

Young carers often experience poorer outcomes in health, education and employment. In Oldham around 12% of young carers known to our services aged 16-18 are not in education or employment. This project will enable us to engage better with the young carers most at risk of becoming unemployed and help them to develop employability skills.

Around 1 in 4 young carers says that they have been bullied at school because of their caring role. By helping young carers to develop improved confidence and skills, this project will increase resilience in this group. The younger people supported by peer mentors will also experience increased confidence and receive support from peers who understand their situation.

Young carers can often feel tired and stressed due to their caring responsibilities and can live in chaotic households. Young carers often need individual support and the chance for respite to improve their health and wellbeing outcomes. The Young carers SHINE programme concentrates on improving the physical and emotional wellbeing of young carers by giving them access to physical activities which reduce stress and worry as well as keeping them fit and healthy. The project will promote emotional health and wellbeing by supporting individuals to develop coping strategies for life’s challenges and to encourage positive thinking.

Thanks to this funding from BBC Children in Need young carers will not only gain new skills but will experience new activities, take part in residentials, enjoy new challenges and gain valuable respite from their caring responsibilities.

Rina Dabhi, Director of Adult and Family Services at Positive Steps said: “This funding is going to enable us to really target and reach young carers over 14 who often disengage with services and can go unsupported now. We are delighted at the new opportunities and activities that all of our young carers are going to enjoy as a result of this funding from BBC Children in Need.”

BBC Children in Need relies on the generosity and creativity of the thousands of supporters and fundraisers who raise millions of pounds for the charity every year. To date the UK public has raised over £1 billion for children and young people facing disadvantage across the UK.

OLDHAM YJS Inspection


Oldham Youth Justice Service is delivering some “impressive” work and “puts children and young people at the heart of everything they do”, according to a report published today.

HM Inspectorate of Probation inspects probation and youth offending services across England and Wales. Inspectors gave the service an overall rating of ‘Good’ – it’s second-highest rating.

Oldham Youth Justice Service supervise children and young people aged 10 to 18. Some are serving court sentences; others have not been charged for their offending behaviour and are being dealt with outside the court system.

Inspectors found staff at Oldham Youth Justice Service were “respected, skilled and highly motivated”. Staff had a deep understanding of the children and young people that they worked with, and involved them at every stage of the process.

Chief Inspector of Probation Dame Glenys Stacey said: “Many aspects of Oldham Youth Justice Service are impressive. We looked at 12 aspects of their work and they achieved the highest rating – ‘Outstanding’ – in four categories.

“Their work to support young people to move away from further offending was very strong. Staff put a lot of emphasis into building relationships and engaging with young people, for example in developing Oldham’s violent youth crime strategy.

“This approach is consistent with the ethos throughout the service – children and young people are at the heart of everything they do. There is a recognition that long-term desistance from offending is more likely to be achieved if children and young people’s wider needs are met.”

Oldham is the only youth offending service in England and Wales to be contracted out to a charitable trust. The inspection found this arrangement worked well.

Inspectors also found positive work in relation to black and minority ethnic (BME) communities. Staff understand the specific needs of these children and young people, and a member of staff is working to build community understanding and awareness. The Management Board has also recognised a disproportionately high number of children from BME backgrounds are given custodial sentences. The service is now working with partners to find out why this is the case.

The report includes a positive example of restorative justice involving a group of young people who had caused criminal damage to a tram. The young people and their parents met with the tram owners, and were shocked to hear about the impact of their behaviour.

The young people agreed to make amends by creating safety posters to highlight the dangers of their behaviour and helped to clean a tram at the depot. One parent said the experience had been an “eye-opener” for her son and he now walked away from uncomfortable situations.

Inspectors identified five areas for improvement. This includes ensuring the Management Board becomes more effective in holding the service to account for its performance.

Oldham Youth Justice Service should also look at how it handles cases that are dealt with out of court. More could be done to ensure the risks posed to and by children and young people are taken into account, and more attention should be given to the concerns of victims.

The full report can be found here.

Getting Out For Good

Click HERE to learn about our ‘Getting Out For Good’ project (on behalf of Manchester Metropolitan University), and how its changing lives.

BLUNT - Knife Crime Prevention

The Youth Justice Service at Positive Steps received funding from the Home Office last Autumn to deliver targeted knife 

crime awareness work with young people across the borough, who were highlighted by partner agencies as being known to, or at risk of, carrying knives.

 The “Blunt” Programme was developed to highlight the dangers and impact of carrying knives, teach emergency life saving skills and provide the opportunity to engage in positive activities, in conjunction with Manchester Street Doctors and MAHDLO.

To date, 18 young people have signed up to the programme and have become “Anti- Knife Crime Champions” by completing posters and music lyrics to be shared across Oldham, with some gaining an AQA accreditation in Implications of Knife-Related Incidents

Given the success of the programme, we are keen to pursue further opportunities to enable Blunt to continue post April 2019 - watch this space…

(BLUNT is a youth focused programme co-delivered by Positive Steps and MAHDLO)