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As we start to look ahead to our new financial year in April, we wave goodbye to a fiscal year that has arguably been the most challenging for everyone, everywhere, around the world – professionally, and personally. So, if you’re anything like the VRP, you’ll be ready to start afresh and say hello to a brand new year.

More than 200 projects have been delivered – and by the end of March, the entire VRP budget will have been spent on making our communities safer.

In the face of unprecedented adversity during 2020-21, the VRP feels immensely proud of what we have achieved in collaboration with our many Merseyside partners – especially considering we have all journeyed through three national lockdowns now.  Most delivery partners reworked or redesigned their plans and as a result, they managed to deliver all, the majority of, their intended programme. RESULT!

Understandably, through no fault of their own, this has not been an option for some given the limitations and challenges of COVID. However, we are full of admiration for every organisation and individual who helped us continue to deliver interventions.

In his introduction to this year’s annual report, Head of Merseyside VRP, Det Supt Andy Ryan references a well-known Desmond Tutu quote, which sums up the VRP’s approach:

“There comes a point when we need to stop just pulling people out of the river, and instead, we need to go upstream and find out why they are falling in.”

He goes on to say: “We know that violence is preventable and not, as people often see it, an inevitability … serious violence can no longer be seen solely as an enforcement issue for the Police or Probation or the Prison Service to deal with, or to “pull them out of the river,” as it were.

“Instead, incidents of serious violence should be seen as preventable consequences of a range of factors, which have arisen in someone’s early life, most notably through adverse childhood experiences (ACEs).

“There are exceptions, but we believe that if we seek to prevent serious violence through early intervention, or by “going upstream to see why they are falling in,” we can help to make our communities safer for this generation and future generations.”

Partnerships, from the private, public and voluntary sectors, have been the cornerstone of our work since we started but this year has truly cemented the synergy that exists but also the willingness to develop solid working relationships and forge new ones.

Similarly, stakeholders have helped to shape the VRP’s strategic focus, starting in June 2019, when the VRP held its first stakeholder engagement event with key statutory partners to consider the Home Office’s invitation to establish a 'VRU'. Further scoping sessions ensued and by February 2020, academic partners, Liverpool John Moores University, facilitated a stakeholder event, which crystallised the VRP’s challenges producing a theory of change and logic model to identify the key areas of focus and to allow for a sustainable model in the future. Stakeholder and partnership work continues to evolve.

Our annual report for 2020/21 will be available on our website in coming weeks. But for those who might fancy hearing about our work from the voice of the people – from the people who actually delivered or received these programmes – our ‘Year in Review’ film will be released in April.






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