Sean Creaney, Edge Hill University Lecturer in Psychosocial Analysis of Offending Behaviour

Edge Hill University students are working with Voice for Children and Cheshire Youth Justice Services to provide support to vulnerable young people through a new mentoring project.

Voice for Children (VfC) specialises in working with young people involved in youth justice, and children in or on the edge of care, offering them opportunities to learn about their rights and responsibilities. In addition, they teach professionals how to engage and meaningfully involve children in decisions that affect their lives.

The mentoring project will involve BSc (Hons) Psychosocial Analysis of Offending Behaviour students sharing knowledge, experience and wisdom with children and young people who often have experiences of the care and justice systems. The support that will be provided by Edge Hill students to mentees will be anything from helping them with educational goals to improving their confidence.

Sean Creaney, a professional advisor at VfC and Lecturer in Psychosocial Analysis of Offending Behaviour, said:

“Disproportionately children in care and justice systems have experienced trauma, which often restricts their life chances. Our new mentoring project with Voice for Children will be beneficial for service users especially those who have had an adverse childhood experience. Edge Hill students will have opportunities to gain valuable work experience by helping and supporting vulnerable children.”

Stacey Davenport, a final year student who is one of the first Edge Hill students to take part in the mentoring scheme, said:

“VfC is such a fantastic organisation, with its heart in the right place. They know their goal and strive to help all young people. They are currently raising funds to support football for care leavers – recently they have paid for their fees for a year so they can play in a local league. This allows young people to engage in a hobby and can help with their emotional wellbeing.

“I am passionate about supporting vulnerable children in the care and justice systems. I am thoroughly looking forward to volunteering with Voice for Children ,helping to co-produce material and support young people in difficulty.”

VfC is unique in the sense that its CEO & Founder, Liam Hill, has direct experience and a diverse understanding of exactly what it means to ‘be in care’ and has first-hand experience of the criminal justice system both as an adult and child.

“Voice for Children is linking up with Edge Hill to give students an opportunity to work directly with society’s most vulnerable young people, giving students first hand direct experience of working with young people and an opportunity to be part of our organisation in making a real difference to children and young people we work with,” said Liam.

“Voice for Children is looking forward to developing a fruitful partnership with Edge Hill and hope that our mentoring scheme is the first of many joint projects”, Liam added.

Last year, Liam presented at an Edge Hill event on the treatment of children in the youth justice system where he discussed his personal experiences in the care system and how Voice for Children began.

Tom Dooks, Senior Manager at Cheshire Youth Justice Services said:

“Our youth justice service users have often been overlooked or actively excluded from educational opportunities, and far too often this can result in a deeply entrenched ‘poverty of aspiration’. I greatly value VfC’s work and welcome this innovative new mentoring project with EHU which aligns perfectly with our own skills and knowledge partnership with the University.”