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The Linked-In project works with young people who are due to leave or have just left police custody.

Each year significant numbers of children, young people and adults with mental health issues come into contact with the criminal justice system. Being taken to custody can be confusing and frightening, and we’re there so young people and vulnerable adults don’t have to go through the experience alone. We help them to understand what’s happening and to ensure they are treated fairly. We are committed to early intervention and deliver this to young people at risk through our innovative Linked-In scheme.


The Linked-In project is an innovative programme which works with young people who are due to leave or have just left police custody. We support young people aged 13-24.

A worker from the Linked-In Project can provide young people with any guidance or support they might need. The project aims to reduce re-offending and to improve mental health and well-being by helping young people to address factors that impact negatively on their lives.

What we do

We provide individually tailored support, advocacy, befriending service and signposting for a period up to six months to young people and young adults (aged 13 – 20) who have been in contact with the police.

We use an early intervention approach to support young people when leaving police custody with the aim of:

  • Reducing the risk of re-offending
  • Assisting the young person to meet the requirements set by the juvenile / criminal justice system
  • Addressing risk factors and stressors for reoffending including mental health issues
  • Linking the young person in to existing services
  • Acting as a single point of contact between the young person and the wide range of agencies and services that are or should be involved in supporting them
  • Building the young person’s capacity for effective help-seeking behaviour in future.

Areas we cover

Linked-In covers the Greater Belfast area including Antrim, Lisburn, Bangor. 

How to be referred to our service

Referrals are received from:

  • MindWise’s Northern Ireland Appropriate Adult Scheme which supported the young person during any police interview;
  • PSNI Community Police Officers, Youth Diversion Officers or Custody Sergeants
  • Any other professionals working with young people at risk of offending (by prior agreement with MindWise)
  • Young people themselves

How we’re funded

We’re funded by Big Lottery.

How to contact us


Mindwise Head Office, Pinewood House
46 Newforge Lane
Malone Rd
Belfast BT9 5NW

C/O Mr. Stanley Booth MBE
Linked-In Service Manager

Tel: 02890402323

For more information

Download our Linked-In leaflet.

A day in the life of a Linked-In Officer

“There is no such thing as a typical/ normal day as each young person presents with their own unique, different needs and therefore the support required varies. Typically I will meet 3-4 young people a day, and go through their support plans or be actively involved in completing tasks within their support plans.

This could be accompanying them to court, facilitating appointments with solicitors, supporting young people to engage in youth conferences/engage with probation and any community service elements, attending social service review meetings, advocating on their behalf in terms of access to relevant support services and general befriending and mentoring.”

Caitlin finds her role very fulfilling and rewarding:

"I’m a great believer in that ‘too often we underestimate the power of a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment and the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around. For me this sums up the Linked In Project in a nutshell.”

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