Gangsline is a non-profit organisation established in 2007 to provide help and support to young men and women involved in gang culture. We work with individuals from the deprived parts of our communities and with deeply entrenched social, educational, spiritual and family issues. Central to our ethos and success is a proactive, spiritual and non-enforcement led approach to gangs, and the gang violence embedded our local communities.
Gangsline’s beginning came as a result of receiving a small funding grant to support individuals and families who were fearful about the involvement of people they knew in gangs. Since then Gangsline has expanded from an information and advice service to a highly successful and respected outreach and mentoring service, under the name Targeted Against Gangs (TAG).
Today Gangsline delivers its unique services by providing a proactive and reactive approach that offers support and exit strategies to young men and women involved in gangs, and an effective prevention service to young people on the peripheries of gang activity. Our specialist outreach response team – all of whom are ex-gang members themselves – are uniquely placed to access and work alongside even the most high risk gang leaders and members.
Since its inception Gangsline has effectively addressed the root causes of why young people turn to the ‘comfort’ that gang membership provides. These reasons may be incomprehensible to mainstream society, but issues such as family breakdown, anger, the consequences of societal rejection, emotional hurt, unresolved conflict, a (missing) sense of belonging, the dangers of the disillusioned and the despair of struggling parents and absent fathers have all had a massive contribution to the choices made by many of our socially excluded young people. In response to the presented issues, Gangsline has a no holds barred approach that focuses on notions of responsibility, morality, positive thinking, anger management, self- belief, leadership, success and purpose.
Sheldon Thomas is the Founder and Chief Executive of Gangsline. An inspirational and pioneering individual, Sheldon has an unprecedented insight into gangs through his own experience as a leading gang member in the 1970s. He now dedicates his life to engaging directly with gang leaders and members and using a ‘no holds barred’, yet spiritual, approach to changing young people’s lives.
Sheldon is hailed as a leading expert in gang culture and is both an advisor to the Home Office and New Scotland Yard on gang culture and violence, and to Trident which is a specialist unit dealing with black-on-black gun related crime. Sheldon regularly sits in on the Home Office round table discussions and has contributed to the Home Office ‘Ending Gang Violence’ Strategy (2011). He also currently provides strategic and tactical advice to the London Boroughs of Barking and Dagenham and Newham on gang-related activity, and informs on cross-border issues for the London Boroughs of Waltham Forest and Redbridge.
His journey began in 1988 when he met the late Bernie Grant, former Labour MP for Tottenham. Grant saw potential in Sheldon and offered to mentor him. In the subsequent years Sheldon used his new found focus as he travelled to areas of the United States where he met civil rights acticist Jesse Jackson, and Jamaica to learn all he could about gang and drug related crime and violence and how they tackle it. Inspired by Bernie Grant, his own family and everything that he had learnt he dedicated his life to helping the disillusioned and disinfranchised young people in society reach their potential.
A regular and outspoken contributor to television, radio and newspaper, Sheldon is a motivational speaker and visionary. He is contacted weekly from across the globe by individuals, businesses and government representatives who seek expert advice and support on an issue which is blighting communities and is failing to be successfully addressed by politicians and criminologists alike. In addition to his pioneering work with gangs, Sheldon also obtained a Certificate and Diploma in Management and holds a BA (Hons) in Marketing and Statistics. Sheldon has been married to his wife Michelle for 17 years and has 4 children.
Freephone Helpline 0800 032 9538