What people are saying about YLYC programme.

Magistrates Association Chairman Visits Cardinal Wiseman School Feb 2019

John Bache JP, National Chair of the Magistrates Association, says, “YLYC is a valuable initiative, giving young people important information about the effects crime has on young offenders and victims and the potential choices they make have on themselves and others around them.”

Councillor Aysha Raza Visits Cardinal Wiseman Catholic School, Ealing 8 Feb 2019

As chair of Ealing Council’s Special Scrutiny Committee looking into knife crime and youth engagement I was faced with the daunting prospect of where to begin to get a picture of the situation in our borough.

The ‘Your Life You Choose’ training days at most of our schools has given us a good understanding of all the agencies that are involved with preventing our young people from getting into criminality.

I am always fascinated to see the response from students at each of the different sessions that focuses on the harsh reality and consequences of a criminal lifestyle. With truthful presentations of the legal system to prison services, the honest experience of a 999 call to the ambulance service to the realities of sharing a prison cell and toilet with a stranger, students react with a whole range of emotions.

The use of role play and being made to contemplate the decisions before them really makes students think about the issue quite deeply. The training is a powerful and practical tool in the confusing world of current youth culture.

I shall be recommending to our cabinet that we ensure every student in Ealing has this valuable training to equip them for their futures. Feedback from teachers and schools has also been very positive with requests for perhaps running refresher annual training days with each year group.

T/Supt Davinder Singh Kandohla (Ricky) Metropolitan Police Service, Ealing Police Station

Following a visit to YLYC at Featherstone High School on 27 June 18.
“It was heartening to see so many young people actively engaged in discussing knife crime and the consequences. The message is clear – young people are our future and it is for them to have all the tools they need to make right decisions and choices.
I firmly believe through positive engagement and discussions with young people, and taking their thoughts on board, that we can make a stand in defeating knife crime and this is exactly what it’s all about when tackling such a serious topic.”
It was an absolute pleasure and delight to take part in the Your Life You Choose programme. It is great to see some positive engagement with a wide variety of partnership organisations. YLYC is a great project.

This was a brilliant event. I will enjoy working with the two local boroughs delivering this and I will ensure we work towards delivering this fantastic project further.”

CHARLIE TAYLOR, Leading Review of Youth Justice 2016, Ministry of Justice

It was fascinating to see the breadth of the work, how engaged the children were in the day, and the quality and variety of the speakers. I was so impressed by how much you got through and how efficiently everything ran. It is particularly impressive that you were able to achieve everything at such low cost!


I was very impressed and encouraged by the good work I saw YLYC doing with young people in schools in Ealing. Prevention has to be better than cure and that’s why stopping young people entering the criminal justice system is a priority for this Government. Having all the different teams, the Police, Youth Offending Service, Victim Support, Prison Officers and the Magistrates all working together locally to steer young people away from a life of crime is a real strength of the project.

Most kids aren’t looking to get into trouble or join a gang, but there will always be a small number at risk of being led astray. The number of first time entrants into the youth justice system has fallen dramatically in recent years, but if we’re to keep that trend on a downward slope we need the local know-how and joined-up thinking that projects like YLYC offer. I wish them all the best for the future.

Dame Alice Hudson Executive Headteacher of Twyford C of E High School

Dame Alice Hudson Executive Headteacher of Twyford C of E High School

Why we love your life you choose!!!
Twyford has been delighted to be involved with Your Life You Choose for a number of years. The programme is hugely effective in giving students an insight into the impacts of crime on individuals and society. We welcome the team back every year as part of our PSHE programme because of the focus on social responsibility and crime prevention.
Students respond strongly to the programme because of the first hand testimonies of staff with current or recent work experience in aspects of the law and youth offending teams. The sessions are highly relevant and are updated every year with new material and experiences.
The day-long session is highly recommended for KS3 students as it is honest, outward looking and not patronising but gives an unequivocally clear message that there are no negative actions without consequences. Students are left with a clear understanding that it is your life and you choose.

ANGIE BRAY Former Ealing MP

Your Life You Choose is proving a very effective campaign amongst young people at school who often find themselves having to decide whether to fall in with a peer group getting into trouble or to steer a clear path away from the temptation. What this campaign does so well is to present in the clearest form possible what the consequences are likely to be for those who make the wrong choice.

Official figures demonstrate that it really is having an impact. Meanwhile, knowing that the team, ranging from Magistrates to Victim Support staff and to Police and Prison officers, give their time to the campaign in their spare time, we should all be very grateful to them for all the hard work they are putting in to help keep our young people on the right track.


“I am very proud to be part of the YLYC delivery team. A key part of my role is to impact upon the levels of youth crime in Ealing. A great deal of effort is put in by the police and crucially many other agencies to prevent young people from embarking or continuing on a criminal career.
The statistics show that it is working:
  • Between 2010 and 2015 the numbers of Ealing children charged with offences reduced by 45% 
  • In the same period the numbers of Ealing children investigated dropped by 39%.
  • First time entrants (into the Criminal Justice System) fell  by over 50%
YLYC is delivered to an age group that is almost entirely   at mainstream school and still receptive to messages from those of us who are considered to be the ‘authorities’.
As a police officer, primary school children will wave and smile at you; high school children generally do not. The YLYC material is pitched at an appropriate level and delivered in a way that the pupils can relate to. 
YLYC has run in its present form long enough for us to be at the happy stage where the vast majority of Ealing High School children have participated. I am absolutely certain that YLYC has contributed in a significant way to the local reductions in youth crime.
For me the key strengths of YLYC are :
  • that there are very clear messages about personal responsibility, about resisting negative influence and about seeking help,
  • that there is an opportunity in a universal programme to increase resilience to gang related activity.
  • and that the pupils are reminded how important they are to us all.”


Your Life You Choose is a fantastic intervention that I have used for many years in a variety of schools. The premise is simple – each of our young people has one life, and what they do with it is their choice.
Your Life You Choose gets students at Key Stage 3 to think about those varied choices, in the context of the pressures they may be under. Students are also guided through an evaluation of how those choices will impact themselves and others, through a variety of agencies connected to the criminal justice system. And, that is the key. A message delivered by the likes of Mrs Grimley in assembly on a cold Monday morning is likely to be ignored. Transform the classroom into a prison cell, pass round a pair of prison-issue underpants, and talk to a prison officer about a day in the life of an inmate, and the message hits home…

I have had the privilege of watching Your Life You Choose grow over the years, and be part of its development as it moves with the times, adjusting to reflect the changing pressures affecting our young people. It has also been a privilege to see those involved honoured for their work, the area of its work extend beyond West London, and witness the project recently endorsed by the Justice Secretary. I have no doubt that Your Life You Choose will continue to go from strength to strength and continue to have a positive and essential impact on our students’ lives.