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Learning With Communities About Reducing Serious Violence

Added: 22/06/2022

Voluntary Action Leeds



In September 2021, Voluntary Action Leeds received a small amount of funding from West Yorkshire Violence Reduction Unit (VRU) to strengthen links between communities and the work of the Unit to reduce incidence of serious violence in Leeds. We got this funding to continue our infrastructure work; sharing information and learning from the VRU and wider community safety agenda, influencing strategy, and supporting organisations seeking funding for community safety activity. Learning from a previous VRU project that explored community-led responses to violence, we directed the majority of the funding towards small scale grassroots projects that put community members in the driving seat.


We partnered with two grassroots organisations, Circles of Life – Women Together and LS14 Trust, to explore community-led interventions.


Circles of Life ran a series of informal workshops exploring experiences of domestic violence and actions that can be taken to reduce domestic violence and abuse, and a group of the participating women met the Lord Mayor of Leeds Cllr Asghar Khan, where they shared their lived experience of domestic violence to raise awareness. For some of the men who participated in the project it was both an opportunity to look for the first time at their experience of violence as both victims and as perpetrators. Circles of Life will continue talking groups for women, and are looking to help get minoritized people involved in shaping the West Yorkshire Mayor’s strategy to reduce violence against women and girls.


LS14 Trust developed youth work interventions – youth-led activities and group discussions – which enabled young people to reflect on their experiences of knife carrying and knife crime, including testimony from a St Giles Trust worker who discussed his experience of being in prison and of being both a gang member and a victim of violence. They also hosted drop-in coffee mornings for adults in the community to raise their concerns, and shared with them warning signs of gang involvement and ways to positively engage with children if they believe they are at risk of getting involved in knife crime. LS14 Trust have used the learning from this work to gain additional funding for a school-based project and to lay the groundwork for a new boy’s group.


Read the full VRU report here.


Voluntary Action Leeds

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