Young men leaving the criminal justice system and wanting to live a crime-free life going forward could find a port in a storm through a new support group in Leamington.
A Band of Brothers Leamington (ABOB ) formed in January and is a branch of a national charity that mentors men aged from 18 to 25.
The young men, who have often experienced or witnessed domestic violence, abuse, neglect or drug and alcohol addiction, are provided with the support they need to make the transition to an adulthood free of crime and ‘full of connection, purpose and meaning’.
This is achieved through a Quest Programme, which brings young men and adult role models together in an intensive and contemporary rites-of-passage experience held in nature over a weekend, and an accredited 13-week mentoring programme.
A Band of Brothers Leamington is recruiting men of age 28 and upward to join and support these young men.
Fran Cabeza West, conductor for ABOB Leamington, said: “We are on track to run our first Quest Programme in October but need more men to join us in this cause.
“Ultimately, we are supporting Leamington in becoming a safer community, where all men of all ages and backgrounds can come together, feel accepted and contribute positively to society.”
A Band of Brothers charity has been supporting young men for ten years and in 2015 was awarded the Queen’s Medal for Voluntary Service, in recognition of its success in reducing offending behaviour by 80 per cent and saving the taxpayer a total of £2.5 million for every 100 young men it supported.
With branches in Haringey, Crawley, Brighton, Eastbourne, Bristol, Cornwall and Manchester, A Band of Brothers is looking to build on the successes of these other places in establishing the community in Leamington.
To date, the Leamington group has received £2,000 from the Bodies & Co Charity Fashion Show to set up the cause and members are arranging meetings with key stakeholders including probation, the town’s mayor and MP to raise awareness of the initiative to create a safer community.
In a video on the ABOB Leamington Facebook page, volunteer Tom Ingall has described his reasons for getting involved in the cause.
He said: “I joined ABOB because a dear friend of mine has been involved since the start and I had heard a lot about it.
“I was motived to go deeper into my own work as a man, to be more authentic as a man and to have more authentic relationships with the men around me.
“Having taken those initial steps, it quickly became apparent that this was an organisation that would be able to help me channel my own work into a contribution to society.
“And to those younger men who are lost in their own way and that I could give back and be involved in a healing process and I could help make my community and society a safer place for my children, my family and those people around me, including those young men.”
More videos by volunteers and more information about the group can be found on the A Band of Brothers Leamington’s Facebook page.
**** A statement of the causes, aims and ethos on the A Band of Brothers website says: “ABOB regards the problem of disaffected young men as an oversight of our culture to address fundamental male issues.
“The disintegration of traditional family units, weaker bonds between father and son, the decline of community support structures, the proliferation of mass society, rampant consumerism and the lure of drugs and alcohol have resulted in unprecedented challenges for many adolescents and therefore for society.
“As any definition of manhood seems ever more vague and even trivial, today’s boys and young men face an increasing struggle trying to grow and mature into adulthood.
“We believe that every young man seeks identity, meaning and a purpose into which he can channel the considerable energies of early male adulthood and that many long-term social problems can be alleviated if young men are provided with appropriate personal encouragement, engagement and attention from first-hand role models to support this process.