Recipe to reduce violence

New Street & Arrow café opens in Glasgow’s Dental Hospital.

A new café serving up second chances for former offenders has opened in Glasgow’s Dental Hospital.

Justice Secretary Humza Yousaf today opened the new Street & Arrow project, in partnership with NHS Greater Glasgow & Clyde, giving former offenders a route back to employment and stable lives.

Speaking ahead of a parliamentary debate on violence reduction this afternoon, Mr Yousaf said the opening of the café marked Scotland’s journey over the last decade to reduce violent crime.

He said:

“Back in the day many victims of knife violence and serious assault would end up in the Glasgow Dental Hospital to have the damage done to them repaired by specialist surgeons. Now, instead of getting stitched up in hospital, those previously involved in crime are there for a job and the support they need to get back on their feet. It shows how times have changed.

“Recorded violent crime has nearly halved across Scotland in the last decade and we’ve seen a parallel fall in the number of emergency admissions to hospital resulting from assault.

“Our approach to tackling violence as a public health issue is one that is working and is being recognised globally. Just yesterday, the Mayor of London announced a Violence Reduction Unit in London inspired by the Scottish model. This is welcome news, but the job of tackling violence in Scotland is not yet done. The momentum must continue to tackle the root causes of violent crime.”

Street and Arrow was developed from the Scottish Violence Reduction Unit, established in 2008 as part of Scotland’s public health approach to tackling violence – recently recognised by the World Economic Forum. The Unit has received over £12 million of Scottish Government funding.

Director of the Scottish Violence Reduction Unit, Niven Rennie, said:

"Street & Arrow dishes out more than just good food, it also serves up second chances for people who want to change their lives and break free from the cycle of violence. The best form of health care is prevention and the Glasgow Dental School and Hospital are helping to stop the revolving door of violence in our A&Es by giving people hope and opportunity.

“Scotland's focus on the public health approach to violence is world-leading and is increasingly being replicated by countries across the globe. Working together Scotland has shown that violence is preventable."

Gary Jenkins, Director of Regional Services, NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde, said:

“As a Board, we are committed to supporting people who can face barriers to gaining employment. Not only does this partnership provide an excellent opportunity for us to help job seekers; it is also providing a fantastic new cafe for our patients and staff at the Dental Hospital. It is already proving very popular thanks to the very high standard of catering and I’m sure it’s popularity will only continue to grow.”

Callum, who successfully completed a year with Street & Arrow and was kept on as a trainee mentor, said:

“Street and Arrow gave me hope in the future. I’m now a mentor helping guys just like myself and it is the most rewarding thing I have ever done. The ripple effect from the SVRU helping me is massive, my family get the benefits, my community, I’m no longer a drain on the NHS or in prison. Everyone at the SVRU has helped me get to a place I never thought was possible where I have peace in my life.”


Key statistics:

  • In 2016-17, 87% of adults reported experiencing no crime.
  • Violent crimes recorded by the police in Scotland have fallen 49% between 2006-07 and 2016-17.
  • Recorded crimes of handling offensive weapons fell by 68%, from 10,110 in 2006-07 to 3,271 in 2016-17.
  • The number of young people under 18 convicted of handling an offensive weapon has reduced from 489 in 2006-07 to 91 in 2016-17.
  • Emergency admissions to hospital resulting from assault have reduced by 56% between 2006-07 and 2016-17.
  • Emergency admissions to hospital due to assault with a sharp object have reduced by 62% between 2006-07 and 2016-17.

In 2018-19, the Scottish Government is investing £1.8 million in a range of projects supporting violence prevention, including Medics Against Violence, Police Scotland Youth Volunteers, No Knives Better Lives, Mentors in Violence Prevention Programme and the Scottish Violence Reduction Unit.

The Street & Arrow café at NHSGGC Dental Hospital & School opened on Monday 3rd September. As well as experienced catering staff, the café employs those who have been involved in violence or offending behaviour and especially those who have a previous conviction who want to turn their lives away from violent offending.

The trainees receive payment for their work as well as mentoring to help them stabilise their lives and deal with issues as diverse as staying sober, housing, family or relationship issues, creating a CV etc. Employment is for a year with the option for ongoing support once they have finished their time with the programme.

Street & Arrow is a social enterprise set up by the Scottish Violence Reduction Unit in partnership with Skills Development Scotland and Community Justice Scotland and is supported by the European Social Fund and Scottish Government.


Media enquiries

Back to top