FRED is a youth-led campaign. It is run by young people through social action projects and high quality youth volunteering. It is an independent entity that is hosted by the Restorative Justice for All International Institute.
FRED aims to:
- Promote the values of Fairness, Respect, Equality and Dignity (FRED), as they impact on young people especially the most marginalised communities.
- Directly support young people in need through advice, volunteering, educational programmes and social action projects.
- Dispel stereotypes about young people with an emphasis on those who are at risk of being marginalised, disadvantaged or excluded due to their background, race, mental health, socio-economic status, gender, physical abilities or sexual orientation.
FRED is steered by a Youth Management Board that is mentored by RJ4All.
We aim to address “disadvantage thinking” and redistribute power within society.
What is disadvantage thinking?
Ask any young person, and they will tell you that for any individual to develop their potential and thrive, first there needs to be a sense of self-pride and a set of personal goals. Remove these and independently of the social, societal, biological, political factors that may be evoked, we should expect to see a life of underachievement and likely criminality. We develop these goals and aspirations though a mixture of factors such as our parents, role models, our peers and teachers. But first, we have to believe in ourselves.
However, society and the modern educational, justice, social and healthcare infrastructures start from the premise that if we are accessing a public service, then we must have a problem; it is not because we are simply pursuing our ambitions.
This is particularly true for young people. If they are accessing healthcare services, then they are seen as “consumers” of public money. If they have come to the attention of the criminal justice system, then they are labelled as “criminals”. If they do not have a home, then they are “homeless”, or if they have been in state care, then they are “care leavers”. We have even created special funding programmes for “NEET” young people!
We call this approach “disadvantage thinking”.
Consequently, well-intended policy and legislation are tailored to these labels/ “problems”. Even worse, the targets that are introduced to indicate the success of these policies are flawed. For instance, youth justice policies are measured against targets such as recidivism (e.g. how many young people do not reoffend) and saving public money (e.g. how many young people are incarcerated).
Fairness, Respect, Equlity and Dignity (FRED) are not measured against individual outcomes and positive stories such as reaching individual goals and benefiting the community.