Tom's Trust has supported

Tom's Trust funded a new project at Skilltrain called MC Rapagram, which aims to redress gang damage, and target young people who have become severely social phobic as a result of violence. The project focused on the behaviour and culture which exists within gangs and use that understanding to turn the negative messages they communicate to each other, and to non-gang members, into positive ones.

Participants in the project learnt how to build their own confidence, to develop positive negotiating skills and self-image, and the potential for achievement in society. These positive messages were then converted into rap lyrics and provided the means by which participants could examine issues such as verbal messages, body language, voice projection, anger and stress management. Combining this with some pure confidence and self-esteem work meant that the rap that they produced can then change to being an effective conduit for transmitting constructive messages right into the heart of the gangs, and to other disaffected young people.

Skilltrain believes that although the problem of young people associated with gangs is, by common consent, growing, few public awareness or educational initiatives have been developed or delivered. Few dedicated programmes working with those young people who are most at risk, are part of the gang culture and likely to be carrying weapons have been developed, particularly using knowledge from gang members. One of the features of MC Rapagram is that, in time, Skilltrain intends to repeat it elsewhere in London and across the country.