Generation Hackney, investing in our future

Picture: Ian Aitken - Richard Hearn, Founder of Generation Hackney

Picture: Ian Aitken – Richard Hearn, Founder of Generation Hackney

By Yousif Farah

Youth re-offending is one of many problems we are faced with as a society. Not many realize the gravity of the problem or its ramifications on our generation – or future generations for that matter. Recent re-offending rates are quite alarming; 75% of young people re-offend within two years of being released.

However, the youth are the foundation of the future, and we need to ensure that foundation is solid and durable. Generation Hackney is one of the charities battling to tackle the problem.

Even though the charity was established pretty recently, it is directed by an enthusiastic young man who is no stranger to the world of re-offending. Richard Hearn, has eight years experience of dealing with young offenders under his belt. Hearn previously worked for the National charity Nacro, which works to reduce re-offending figures, through providing training, education and apprenticeships.

Hearn eventually grew frustrated with the limitations of large charities. In particular with the funding by result scheme. He believes it to be non- beneficial to the vulnerable youth. Mr Hearn is in some sense a visionary who believes that to commit a crime some sort of skill is required. He is endeavouring to work with young offenders to develop that skill and re-employ it in a legitimate job.

Therefore he decided to set up a new charity; a charity with a different vision and a different approach.

Generation Hackney was launched in November 2013 and aims to assist young offenders who are trying to turn their lives around and lack the resources and support, through providing them with training, employability skills and boosting their morale.

However, despite his credentials and experience in the field Hearn is faced with many challenges. The main challenge is the difficulty in obtaining funding and grants, another challenge which presents itself is the lack of engagement from participants, or perhaps their indecision regarding their career choice.

As Hearn puts it himself: “We started off with a group of about fifteen young people initially, which was brilliant. We sat down, we went through the opportunities – great, fantastic. We started doing the training and we only had three people turn up.

Generation Hackney, currently has no financial partners. However, they have partnerships with many businesses ranging from finance agencies to hair dressers. All of them are committed to the pilot scheme and are willing to give six-day work placements over a six-week period.

A potential apprentice will normally attend a consultation to review his skills, interests and motivations before attending a two day course on work place behaviour. They are then offered work experience at a range of local businesses.

Mr. Hearn blames the lack of funding for the business’s slow progress. However he remains optimistic about the future and blames the lack of financial support on the fact that Generation Hackney is relatively new.

His future plans revolve around gathering finance and obtaining further contracts. “The ideal for me would be getting some contract work which would be funded, and getting some grant funding. Partnering is essential too.”

To find out more visit Generation Hackney’s blog

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Filed under Ian, Trainees blog, Yusif

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