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Peer Action Collective to help adults build trusted relationships with young people affected by violence 

We’re the Peer Action Collective (PAC), a movement of young people in England and Wales who want to prevent youth violence. One important source of support for young people at risk of violence are adults they can trust. Through PAC, we want to help them build trust faster and offer more inclusive support. 

In Exeter, Bristol and Wales, PAC teams will spend the next 18 months using peer research to listen to more than 1,500 young people and learn from their experiences. We won’t just listen; young people will act on what they hear by creating social action based on their findings. 

The challenge

Trusted adults such as youth workers and mentors can play an important role in providing young people with the right advice and support. But not every young person has a trusted adult to turn to. It’s important young people build trusted relationships with adults who can provide support and guidance away from violence, crime, and exploitation. We need to understand how adults can do more to build these relationships. 

Relationships should be informed by young people’s perspectives and experiences. Our work is driven by young people affected by violence and passionate about using their experiences to drive real-world change. As one member of our team in Exeter summarises: 

“We believe that all young people have the potential to make a difference and become the best version of themselves.  However, we understand that without the right support and guidance, this can be a struggle for young people.”  

What are PAC teams doing in response?

Our first projects around Trusted Adults are kicking off this March – here is what we will be researching:

In Wales…  

Supported by Media Academy Cymru, the team is looking into how young people can reach a trusted adult, build important relationships, and be supported to reduce the risk of involvement in violence. They will follow young people’s journeys, whether they have good access to trusted adults, or not.  

In Exeter and Bristol…  

Supported by Exeter City Community Trust, The Robins Foundation (Bristol City) and the EFL Trust, the team is interested in looking at the environments where young people can interact with adults that support them. They’ll look at physical and online places young people interact with adults and how we can make these spaces more comfortable and accessible 

Peter Walker, PAC Project Manager at the EFL Trust said: “This is an exciting research piece of work for the Peer Researchers. Through the power of youth voice, we’ll create some real insight and learnings for our network, on how to best create supportive environments that can help build trusting relationships with young people that are vulnerable to youth violence.”

To give you a flavour of our ambition, our team in Wales reflect on what they want to achieve:  

“Through this project, we hope to achieve an insight and a clearer view on what children and young people think is a trusted adult and who they are more likely to go to. Through this we can advocate and inform policy makers about the research, highlighting the importance of trusted adults in preventing violence.”

How can you support our work?

Our goal is to help young people who have experienced violence gain support from a trusted adult, and we need your support in achieving it. If you want to be part of our work, please get in touch with us at  

You can support us in various ways, such as: 

 We are ambitious in the change we want to see from our research and would really appreciate your support in helping us to make a difference. As one member of our team in Bristol shares: 

“We are a group of young people who want to make change in communities to give young people access to trusted adults and gain the support they need.”  

Funded by the Youth Endowment Fund, the #iwill Fund (a joint investment between The National Lottery Community Fund and the Department for Culture, Media and Sport) and the Co-op, the PAC is here to support young people to take the lead.

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