Watchman – RAP Mentor

REACH ALL PEOPLE
A lot has happened in the last couple of years. I am a husband, happily married to Latoya. God did, what I call, a ‘suddenly’. Latoya and I met on 7 November 2016. Actually we never physically met, as she was living in Jamaica at the time and I was living in the UK. However, after six months of FaceTime and talking on the phone for extensive hours every single day, I believed it was now time to take a trip to Jamaica to eventually meet this person who had become my best friend. I’m not going to lie, knowing she had planned to meet me at the airport and that we were going to meet for the first time, I was a little bit nervous, yet excited.

It was love at first sight for us both! We got engaged shortly thereafter on 7 May 2017. Unfortunately, I had to fly back to England that same month to attend my mum’s 70th birthday. I’d not been back in England a week, but was already missing my fiancée like crazy. Immediately after my mum’s birthday, I booked a flight back to Jamaica and we got married on 7 July 2017. She is truly a gift from God and treasure from Heaven. The rest, as they say, is history…

BE PART OF THE SOLUTION NOT THE POLLUTION
As the founder of Reaching All People (RAP) Ltd, previously a Prince’s Trust-established limited company formed in 1996, I am delighted to announce that we are now officially a newly incorporated Community Interest Company (CIC), now known as Reaching All People Trust (RAPT) CIC. RAPT is a Living Wage Employer, as we believe the ethical investment in our staff will be reflected in the communities in which we work.

After two decades of working closely with high-risk, complex young people, who have been involved in serious violence, we are proud to have reached this significant milestone in the company’s history. What this new chapter means for us becoming a CIC will be that we now have a formal business entity. This will enable us to seek grant funding, sponsorship and other forms of revenue to help make the valuable community work sustainable.

In order to take the project forward to achieve some of our long-term goals and ensure some stability, we needed to formalise what we’ve been doing. There are a number of provisions of new funding streams available to support grass-roots community groups, such as RAPT, and with whom we are now in discussions with. Watch this space!

Like a charity, we have a stated mission, known as the ‘community interest statement’, and a clearly defined set of activities. Through high quality, leading edge, client-centred mentoring, using holistic methods and a range of engagement tools, such as Cognitive Behavioural Music Therapy (CBMT), we are able to tap into the minds of those behind the crime, to establish how those once tiny fingers can become a killer’s hands.

As a CIC, there are also restrictions on how we can spend our money. There is an ‘asset lock’ feature that states we must reinvest any revenue we generate in supporting our local community and furthering its mission. Therefore, if you are a local business or other social enterprise, and you are interested in talking to us about sponsorship or other ways to support us, perhaps in the form of a one-off donation, we’d love to hear from you.

The increased transparency and scrutiny means we need to be prepared to be challenged on what we do and how we do it. We have to be confident in the decisions we have taken and how we implement them. We have to be sure that we have adequately considered the costs and benefits of what we plan to do, and that we have a solid evidence base to demonstrate why what we’re doing will achieve the expected results.

LET’S NOT WAIT UNTIL A CRISIS ARISES BEFORE WE ARISE
With fewer bobbies on the beat, police patrolling the streets, due to manpower cuts, Londoners need and deserve safer communities. This is why, in response to the voice of the people and the need for more role models, we propose ‘Road Models’ within our communities. There are many of us, including me of course, who are fed up of seeing the headlines of yet another young person stabbed to death or shot. Unfortunately, crime affects the whole of London, with no part of the capital immune. This is why I am giving a call-out to all who say they want change – and want it NOW – to join me in the fight against crime.

I am pleased to announce the launch and recruitment of an elite team of ‘First Responder Mentors’ (FRM), experienced in working with the most hard-to-reach young people, and who are aware of the acute risks of this cohort. They will patrol the streets of London, protecting vulnerable individuals from violence and exploitation by gangs; ensuring they are kept safe; combating knife crime; ridding our communities of violence by being a much-needed visible presence in our neighbourhoods, and bringing a ray of hope in difficult times. We aim to safeguard young people from harm and from making wrong choices.

By empowering disadvantaged young people at the fringes of society to get a grip on their lives, and to see themselves not as they are, but as they could be – leaders of tomorrow – we aim to set the enhancement of community quality of life as a goal.

LET’S USE OUR PAST TO MAKE A PATH
First Responder Mentors will be volunteers made up of outstanding individuals within the community, who understand the lived experience of the client group. The unique credibility and insight that someone with a similar set of experiences can bring to the mentoring relationship – and which is vital at the transitional stage of life into ‘mature adulthood’ – is priceless. The mentors will receive full induction and training in ‘Mentoring In a Criminal Justice (Youth)’ context, whilst doing their mentoring role.

There are general mentoring responsibility roles that include providing one-to-one support, primarily to 15 to 25-year-old males from BAME groups. 50% of these groups will be made up of young people in the community that are at risk, or have come to the attention of the justice system. The other 50% will be made up of those from within the custodial estate. This would include one pre-release mentoring session visit in prison; one meet-at-the-gate session on the day of release, and further mentoring support in the community. Primarily, the mentoring role is to give the young person support in the area of motivation and practical advice.

We are now accepting applications, and currently creating a pool of First Responder Mentors. Please contact us via e-mail, sending an expression of interest. It will then be processed and forwarded onto our Assessment Team, who will get in touch.

 

Dr David Anthony Williams, otherwise known as ‘Watchman’, is a Gang Consultancy and Mediation Specialist and MOBO Awards gospel reggae artist.

For more information, email: rapmentor@me.com Facebook: Watchman & Watchman Ministries

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