MAC-UK was founded in 2008 by Clinical Psychologist, Dr. Charlie Howard (formerly Alcock) after she reached out to build a relationship with a group of young people who found themselves involved in gang related activity. The co-founder of MAC-UK’s first ever project, ‘Music and Change’ was Mark Moubarak Chentite. Mark has since been working for the charity and has played a key co-founder role for many of MAC-UK’s successful peer-led interventions, including Mini MAC and PAE.
Charlie wanted to use a youth-led approach to make mental health accessible to excluded young people within their own community. Her aim was to work with young people to find new answers to the complex problem of youth offending.
Her approach grew from working alongside young people in Camden and, with the belief that there was a better way of delivering mental health support, she took the stance that young people are the experts in their own experiences. What emerged was the Integrate model, putting mental health workers at the heart of activities led by the young people themselves.
MAC-UK is now recognised at a local and national level. We have just started our fourth Integrate pilot site, which is funded by the Big Lottery Fund, and are working in partnership with various services in London to place Integrate staff into a range of programmes.
Charlie, now our founding director, has worked as an independent advisor to the Home Office’s Ending Gang and Youth Violence Team and our approach is written into several local authority Serious Youth Violence strategies. Our clinical psychologists, alongside young people, teach on clinical psychology doctoral training courses at UEL, Plymouth, UCL, Oxford and Salomons.
We believe that by putting mental health at the heart of solutions, we can find new answers to the complex problem of youth offending.