Targeted Support

The issue of guns and gangs came to the forefront in Sheffield and particularly Burngreave with the shooting of Jonathon Matondo at Nottingham Cliff playground in October 2007.

Sheffield Futures, who are responsible for youth provision in Burngreave, and the Youth Offending Service (YOS) have together launched a new team – the Targeted Youth Support Team (TYST) – whose task will be to divert young people from joining gangs and to reduce the use of guns.

The new team is concerned with tackling gang activity throughout the city but with a special focus on Burngreave, Sharrow and Broomhall. It will be based at All Saints Connexions Centre in Ellesmere and will be funded for three years. The TYST is led by Ronny Tucker from the YOS with workers Bethan Williams and Maria Lysandrou from YOS; Ayesha Rehman and Alyas Khan, from Sheffield Futures and Inspector Paul McCurry from South Yorkshire Police. The team combines skills and experience from the YOS, youth work and the police with that of Sheffield Safer Communities.

While there are not that many hardcore gang members in Sheffield, according to Ronny, gang membership is an emerging problem.

“We must not take our eye off the ball but we must not exaggerate the problem either.”


The TYST will be working closely with schools, youth centres and community groups. It is also important for young people to have positive role models to talk to and learn from. “Schools have been very welcoming” said Ronny. “We will work with all the young people in school, not just those linked to gangs.”

Much of the work will be on prevention – putting young people off joining gangs before they get too deeply involved. This could include taking young people to visit gang members in Doncaster Prison, to see that life in prison is by no means glamorous. “There are not many good career criminals in Sheffield”, said Ronny, “…they all get caught!”

“We want to talk to young people about the dangers of weapons. Knives can be as lethal as guns and are readily available.”

Young people can be diverted from gang involvement through activities such as sports and the TYST is working to negotiate cheaper use of sports centres and swimming pools for young people without much money.

Mostly, young people will be referred to the TYST by schools. Young people can also attend voluntarily, or be referred by parents, Neighbourhood Action Groups, community organisations and PCSOs.

Early Signs

The team will be involved in mediating between different groups that may be in conflict and get them talking to each other, and will be working to help parents notice the early signs of gang activity. This can include changes in dress and attitude and unexplained income. Ronny confirmed that “Parents need to be confident to ask these questions and we can support those parents.” The YOS already has two Parenting Co-ordinators, who work with parents in small groups.

TYST are talking to Streetforce about reporting and removing gang-related graffiti within 24 hours as this can provoke incidents.

BCAF and TYST will hold an information sharing event over the summer to introduce the team and highlight the different ways young people, parents, schools and the community can get involved. For more details, contact the YOS team on 283 5927 or BCAF on 276 5268.

Logged in users of the website can add comments to this page.
Login to this site if you'd like to add a comment. Sign-up for an account if you are not currently a member.

Up | >>

Print version

The content on this page was added to the website by Kate Atkinson on 2008-07-17 21:13:57.
The content of the page was last modified by Kate Atkinson on 2008-07-17 21:17:50.

Follow us on Twitter @TheBMessenger

All content is copyright © Burngreave Messenger Ltd. or its voluntary contributors, unless otherwise stated, not to be reproduced without permission. If you have any comments, or are interested in contributing to the Messenger and getting involved, please contact us.

Burngreave Messenger Ltd. Abbeyfield Park House, Abbeyfield Road, Sheffield S4 7AT.
Telephone: 0114 242 0564. Email:
Company Limited by Guarantee: 04642734
Registered Charity: 1130836

The Burngreave Messenger is a community newspaper with editorial independence, funded by the Big Lottery, Foyle Foundation, Trusthouse Charitable Foundation, the Garfield Weston Foundation, the Scurrah Wainwright Charity, local residents and our advertisers.

Help the Messenger with a donation