Tackle trouble head-on;Books;Secondary

5th February 1999 at 00:00
STRAIGHT TALKING: practical group work ideas for helping young people to address issues concerning crime. National Youth Agency. pound;16.95. Tel: 0116 285 6789.

You sweat for months to make trusting relationships with the kids on the street or in the youth club. Your efforts culminate in regular meetings with some of those causing most disruption, generating some stability and a sense of identity. This is a major achievement, but the management committee wants miracles. What you really need now is a resource to help raise ticklish issues, such as their criminal activity, constructively, with material to keep the group together which will not run short over coming weeks.

Straight Talking is just that. Developed by the Positive Alternatives to Crime project in Leeds, the 40-page manual, 30 exercises and 50 photocopiable handouts include material culled from other established bibles such as the Gamesters' Handbook, and from Probation Service and Intermediate Treatment experience.

Issues creatively addressed include attitudes to crime, influence of friends and the consequences of offending. There are plenty of ideas for exploring anger, techniques for staying out of trouble, and help in dealing with difficult group behaviour.

The pack's ethos is empow-erment through honesty, res-pect, empathy and self-esteem. The exercises are challenging but not belittling. This is a goldmine for any professional working with young people.

Adrian King is a former health education co-ordinator for Berkshire

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