Welcome to our website


Grab Bag Initiative


This initiative was started up in Enfield and Haringey hospitals after a vulnerable patient disappeared. A 14 year old girl presented to ED in Haringey after an assault on the street. She had facial bruising, epistaxis, appeared not to have washed, smelling of cannabis and carrying a large bag. The Team contacted the OOH duty social worker but were unable to get through. During a resus call, the patient left the department and later, the social worker called back: patient was known to be missing from care. The police were called but sadly the patient was not found.

Approximately 4000 12-18 years from both Enfield and Haringey are treated in the ED annually. These include the hardest to reach, vulnerable adolescents - Looked after children (LAC), those who do not attend school/college and those in gangs. The idea of using grab bags was to deliver information about local services and also to educate – this was part of a bi-borough multiagency project which aimed to target child sexual exploitation (CSE), gang activity and missing children.

The bags were;

  • Constructed on the advice of young people
  • Resourced by multiple agencies
  • Contents to tackle multiple important issues
  • Feedback questionnaire included

The Feedback questionnaires were collated and young people responded positively to the Grab Bag Initiative;

  • Many young people found the information provided useful
  • The highest rated were condoms, helpline numbers and drug advice
  • The few finding the ‘runaway’ information useful may represent some of the hardest to reach
  • If young people are sharing the information received (e.g. the lip salve) it has the potential to reach the wider community

Aims and outcomes:

The aim of this initiative is to inform and educate young people on the services available to them for a range of issues, and to develop Alliance working with stakeholders, health and social care services. We will use a multi-disciplinary approach to target groups/individuals that are harder to reach, and to break down barriers to services.

We want to increase;

  • Awareness of organisations and services available
  • Accessibility to services
  • Knowledge of who to speak to and where to go in specific situations
  • Empowerment, self-care and responsibility within the youth community
  • Support for young people with a range of issues
  • Use of the right services

We want to decrease;

  • Isolation and disengagement
  • Gang culture 
  • Stigma around certain issues
  • Barriers in accessing services


We received a great response from Suffolk’s young community with over 250 surveys and 98 interactions. Here is a brief summary of what they told us.

·         From the focus groups and one-to-one interaction we had with young people, a high percentage (93%) said that the bag was a good idea.

·         From the online survey some suggestions were made around how to make this a successful and sustainable resource. People felt that an online app would work as well, and many people suggested putting a phone number or app details on to a wristband or other similar item.

·         From the online survey 108 young people said that they would like this resource to be made available in schools and colleges, and a further 72 asked for it to be placed in GP surgeries. Lots of other ideas were put forward in relation to where the bag should be available, including pharmacies, police, youth centres, local shops and libraries.

·         From the online survey the main topics our young people want advice and information on are; sexual health, drugs and alcohol, mental health and self-help/coping strategies, support groups and violence.

·         From the online survey the main things young people would welcome as freebies are; condoms, sanitary products, pens / notepads, discount vouchers and stress balls.

What’s next?

We will be designing and putting together the bags in partnership with some of our young people, before launching the initiative across Suffolk.

If you would like to get involved with this project please get in touch.

Select font size
Site colour