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First meeting in April 2013, Chantelle and her peers helped Prince Harry and The Royal Foundation to better understand the issues facing children and young people in St. Ann’s, Nottingham – a community where a number of people were working hard to overcome challenges like youth violence and students from difficult backgrounds who were often excluded from school.

Chantelle and her peers helped Prince Harry and The Royal Foundation to better understand the issues facing children and young people in St. Ann’s, Nottingham – a community where a number of people were working hard to overcome challenges like youth violence and students from difficult backgrounds who were often excluded from school.

This is the story about how Chantelle and others in St. Ann’s worked with Prince Harry to establish the Full Effect programme and make a positive difference for hundreds of children.

Before his second deployment to Afghanistan, Prince Harry had become increasingly concerned about the challenge of youth knife and gun violence.

After looking into the issue himself, His Royal Highness asked The Royal Foundation to identify a community where they could explore long-term solutions to the problem. On return from Afghanistan in April 2013, he travelled to St. Ann’s – a community with one of the highest rates of violence involving knives and guns in the UK.

Prince Harry was there to listen and learn from those in the community – not to make assumptions about what help was needed. When he met with youth leaders and heard about the problems they faced, he got a real sense of the anger felt by some young people. They were frustrated at not being listened to.

Chantelle was one of those young people. After an incredibly tough start in life, she had become a positive mentor for kids in her community. She didn’t speak up in that first meeting, but wrote Prince Harry a long letter afterwards that made a real impact on what would become Full Effect.

His Royal Highness learned from Chantelle that alongside deprivation and violence in the community, a major problem was a lack of hope and a shortage of positive role models. Not enough was being done to highlight the talent of those in St. Ann’s and to show other children they could have a bright future, leaving them vulnerable to poor choices in the future.

By listening to people like Chantelle, Prince Harry realised that real change was possible if like-minded people could work together and a project was built with the community, from the bottom up.

Full Effect brought together two organisations: EPIC Partners, a school based project and the Community Recording Studio. With The Royal Foundation’s support, Full Effect has provided intensive support to the most at risk children in three primary schools and a secondary school in the area.

Specially trained young leaders, identified through the creative opportunities which the Full Effect partnership offers, are embedded in the schools, working with teachers to identify children in greatest need. The mentors help these children to change their behaviours and, most importantly, their outlooks for the future. The mentors have had success because the children look up to them and trust them – they know they are from their community and that they understand what they are going through.

In addition, young leaders from EPIC and CRS provide further arts and sport activities after school to create positive outlets for local youth.

To date, young people in St. Ann’s have created a short film, Guillemot, and a performance called ‘Nott Romeo and Juliet’, and ‘Look Sharp – The Barbershop‘, a hip opera.

The Full Effect project has had a significant impact on the young people of St. Ann’s; none of the children targeted for mentoring have been excluded from school and most have made a good transition to secondary school.

The central philosophy of Full Effect is that young people, with the right support, are best placed to create their own solutions to the problems they face. The Royal Foundation is now exploring what else can be done to make the most of the lessons learned in Nottingham around the rest of the UK.

Learn more on the Full Effect project