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Project information

Rebuilding Bridges

Prevention is better than cure. Our user-led project will mentor at-risk 8-15-year-olds in Camden (either excluded or at risk of exclusion), offering them fun, engaging programmes to reconnect them with mainstream education and show them that a future free of gangs, grooming and crime is possible.

Six months

Charity information: Play Adventures & Community Enrichment

Play Adventures & Community Enrichment logo
  • Need


    Our users live in Camden’s poorest wards: chaotic home lives, few positive role models and inconsistent boundaries sap their hope and aspiration, leading to angry, challenging behaviour that ultimately pushes them beyond the pale. They are written off at a tender age, increasing their exposure to crime, gangs, grooming and drugs. Much of their anger comes from frustration, lack of self-esteem and an inability to communicate. Their anti-social behaviour is often condoned by family and friends.


    Rebuilding Bridges will nip negative behaviour in the bud through mentoring, training and diversion. This is vital: in the worst-case scenario for users, employment/training become distant prospects, with welfare dependency, criminality, ill health and premature death far more likely. There is little targeted provision left in Camden post-austerity and many users don't attend the remaining youth clubs because of gangs. Exclusion exacerbates poverty’s isolation: we will signpost a way forward.

  • Aims

    Aim 1

    Children from deprived backgrounds will be diverted from life-limiting behaviour (eg, gangs)


    » Targeted workshops (eg, sexual health, gangs, drugs/alcohol awareness and healthy relationships) will tackle problems and signpost alternatives

    What success will look like

    Reduced gang/anti-social activity will be confirmed via bimonthly feedback from users, parents and partners (schools, police, etc)

    Aim 2

    Children from deprived backgrounds will benefit from greater self-esteem/resilience/self-control


    » Mentoring in improved life skills/choices, with users' feedback informing the project: their voices will be heard, often for the first time in life

    What success will look like

    Improvement in users’ self-esteem/resilience will be mapped via holistic feedback and objective measures (eg, SDQ scores) taken bimonthly

    Aim 3

    Users’ physical/mental health will improve, making them happier, healthier and more resilient


    » Sports and physical activities (eg, rock climbing, abseiling, ice-skating, bike riding and swimming) will deliver healthy minds and healthy bodies
    » Off-site trips (eg, museums, art galleries, etc) will raise users' aspirations and show them a world elsewhere full of hope and possibility

    What success will look like

    Physical/mental improvements will be gauged via baseline comparisons and user/partner/agency data, with improvements charted and shared in project monitoring and evaluation

    Aim 4

    Users at risk of NEET status will gain skills that will raise their long-term employment prospects


    » Skills-based workshops (eg, woodwork, bike maintenance, gardening, music, cooking, art and crafts, fashion, design, drama) will boost employability

    What success will look like

    Workplace qualities and skills gained will be gauged via baseline comparisons and user/partner/agency data. We will chart improvements via project monitoring and evaluation

    Aim 5

    Users at risk of exclusion will secure places in mainstream education


    » All project activities are designed to deliver this outcome and avoid the stigma and social damage associated with exclusion

    What success will look like

    Improvements in the position of users at risk of exclusion will be confirmed by bimonthly feedback from schools, PRUs and other partners

  • Impact


    We will transform lives by offering users a safe space to socialise, receive dedicated mentoring, develop workplace skills, reject gangs and try risky activities (eg, abseiling) that nurture greater maturity. We will evidence success by monitoring and recording users’ progress towards project aims, working closely with partners (eg, schools and PRUs) and independent evaluators to measure improvement. Over the scheme, 80% of users’ educational, behavioural and physical standards will rise.


    Risk assessments of users/activities will be carried out by staff/partners and reviewed bimonthly. Higher-risk activities (eg, climbing) will be overseen by trained instructors. We will employ individual assessments for users with behavioural issues where appropriate, including management plans and strategies. We will ensure participants are aware of their responsibilities for themselves and each other. Organisational risks are assessed for our annual report and dealt with by senior staff.


    Donors will receive a monthly email detailing activities, case studies, feedback forms and anonymised SDQ scores. We will run project reports on our website/social media exploring the scheme’s impact on users and the community. We will also commission an independent evaluation at the project’s end.

  • Budget

    Budget - Project Cost: £4,000

    Loading graph....
      Amount Heading Description
      £1,000 Skills workshops Weekly skills workshops for 20 8-15-year-olds
      £1,000 Targeted workshops Weekly workshops tackling key user issues (eg, gangs, knife crime)
      £1,000 Sport and physical activities Rock climbing, abseiling, ice-skating, bike riding and swimming, etc to benefit user minds/bodies
      £500 Cultural trips Museums, exhibitions, galleries to raise user aspirations
      £500 Mentoring SIngle and group mentoring will explore user problems and ways to tackle them
  • Background


    PACE serves Camden, one of the UK's 10% most deprived boroughs in terms of poverty, unemployment and crime (ONS, 2015). Child poverty is rampant: 56% of local CYP hail from low-income families, nearly two-thirds of them out of work, according to the Department for Work and Pensions (2014). This tough environment has harsh effects on those we serve. Council play services often exclude troubled users because of behavioural issues or because funding for the extra staff needed to cope has been cut.


    Twenty 8-15-year-olds excluded/at risk of exclusion will be supported to change their lives. We are targeting all Camden wards over the project’s course, particularly the most deprived (eg, St Pancras). Without intervention, users face exclusion from mainstream education and PRUs, a fate that will push them to society’s margins. Many have lost their way and need our help to regain family trust and divert themselves from the path of gangs, crime, substance misuse and exploitation.

  • Why Us?

    Why Us?

    We have the skills and experience. Founded as a social enterprise in 2011, PACE grew out of the desire to give all children in Camden equal access to play, childcare and leisure opportunities. We have successfully managed major grants for the benefit of users (eg, £319,000 a year from LB Camden to run out-of-school childcare/play services for several hundred children). Our 13-strong mentoring team is highly qualified: most hold Level 3 Playwork, youth work and youth justice qualifications.

    Read more about the Charity running this project.


    Glenys James

    Project coordinator: 28 years’ experience of working with users manifesting extreme social, emotional and behavioural difficulties; L3 playworker

    Dean Humphrey

    Deputy project coordinator. Six years’ experience as a playworker, specialist mentor and working in Pupil Referral Units. Qualified football coach.

    Micky Harris

    Experienced adventure playworker (L3) with a background in working with children with disabilities and SEN; 15 years' experience in the field

    Deborah Dixon

    Ten years' experience working in pupil referral units, children’s homes and with children with SEBD. Qualified playworker (L3) and playwork assessor

“Many of the young people with whom PACE/Rebuilding Bridges work or could work are already involved in the criminal justice or FSSW systems – early targeted support and intervention may prevent them ending up in custody or care ”

Assistant head, Camden Centre for Learning