Turning Interest Into Action
Our experience of improving the emotional health and wellbeing of young people aged 11-25 started by engaging young people in meetings with Holocaust survivors where they were encouraged to examine where and how they might make a difference in their communities: taking lessons from the past into their everyday lives.
Specifically, they engaged with questions of how to intervene around social marginalisation and segregation before violence escalates.
Today, Act for Change is a charity which works to improves the lives of children and young people aged 11-25 and their families, who have experiences of trauma, abuse and bereavement, often excluded from school and find themselves isolated and marginalised. They may be involved in the youth justice system.
We aim to improve the personal well-being of young people who have had adverse childhood experiences and to reduce their likelihood of resorting to violence and to harm themselves and others.
Our interventions are customised to fit the needs and capabilities of the individual young person, his/her family, and his/her environment at home, school and in community. This is achieved through an ongoing dynamic process assessing risk-need responsiveness, that takes account of a community of people around each young person.
Our Objective in our work is to facilitate young peoples’ behavioural change on a number of issues believed to be related to the youth offence cycle:
maladaptive attitudes and beliefs,
social and relational difficulties in the family and the community
symptoms of mental health processes (depression, anxiety, ASD, ADHD)
to strengthen youth-family interactions
to strengthen and enable a supportive community around each young person
This approach can help family members learn how to rely on each other and local support networks, improve parenting skills and connect young people to other positive adults, peers and activities.
The good news is that as our research shows, we can achieve a 70% engagement rate and reduce the rate of reoffending by 66%.
A Distinct Identity
At Act for Change, wellbeing is at the forefront of what we’re working together towards. Act for Change transforms the lives of children and their families. Our programs and activities are designed to be a catalyst that helps community members reach their goals and fulfil their potential. Learn more about the positive impact we have and join us in bringing about positive change.
Here at Act for Change, our mission is committed to improving the personal
well-being of young people who have had adverse childhood experiences and to reduce their likelihood of resorting to violence and to harm themselves and others.
Committed to the Cause
Executive Director & Founder
Lea has a particular interest in trauma and collective trauma as well as violence as a public health issue and the uses of community-based dialogue. Lea's mission is to bring systemic and structural change in the UK MH system for young people and their families to reduce the pathological effects of violence and the prevention of violence.
Child & Family Clinician
Simon has extensive experience in child, adolescent and family therapy. He specialises in psycho-emotional profiling of parent-child and sibling attachment and family organisation and functioning. Simon enjoys his long term involvement with Act for Change, and helps assess the young people involved with YOTS for psychotherapy.
Counsellor, Coach & Mentor
Wayne has a focus on clinical, community and organisational psychology. He has over 20 years experience working with disenfranchised groups, and children and young people with emotional and behavioral difficulties, be they young offenders, substance misusers with learning disabilities and gang affiliation.
Balvinder main passion is working with young people and their families, who have experienced domestic abuse or other adverse experience such as bereavement, CSE, and working with children who go missing. Balvinder has 20 years of experience as a counsellor.
We partner with Local Authorities particularly their Youth Offending Teams, Children & Family Services, supported accommodation and independent living organisations.
We partner and collaborate with the Royal Borough of Bexley with faith and non-faith communities that wish to heal the history of child abuse and domestic violence in their midst. Ealing Abbey and the London Spring Counselling Centre
We partner with academic institutions to deepen our understanding and further research the changing needs of young people and develop trauma-informed policy and practice University of East London
How We Make A Difference
Working Towards a Better Tomorrow
At Act For Change, our unique highly skilled team of therapists, work at depth with our troubled teenagers and their families. We reach out to help male teenagers caught up in this angry, compulsive cycle of revenge-seeking, and further reach out to female teenagers often on a downward spiral of depression and self-harm. Our psychological goal is re-empowering them to overcome under-achievement, school exclusions, care interventions and the youth criminal justice system and to rediscover their uniquely positive identity for life.
We’ve learned that our healing psychotherapy and counselling service must be rooted in building a safe relationship over time, where trust can be established, so the traumatised teenager can begin to re-connect with their feelings. When this process of emotional reconnection begins, we have discovered that anything is then possible. Those youths who are referred to us for psychotherapy, are making an inner psychological journey, back from the Negative Identity of ‘Street Warrior’, towards a Positive Identity search.
We envision our work as an escape bridge, which by crossing over, they discover a pathway out of the alienated gang culture of violence and drugs; towards college, training, social integration and the further tasks of Independence gaining. We must continuously model hope and positivity in our way thinking about them, so that they come to believe in their innate ability to make and shape their own future via their magnificent potential.