Supporting Our Windrush Generation – Our Rights in the UK
Tuesday 22nd May 2018
Those arriving in the UK between 1948 and 1971 from Caribbean countries have been labelled the Windrush generation. It is unclear how many people belong to the Windrush generation, since many of those who arrived as children travelled on parents’ passports and never applied for travel documents – but they are thought to be in their thousands.
There are now 500,000 people resident in the UK who were born in a Commonwealth country and arrived before 1971 – including the Windrush arrivals – according to estimates by Oxford University’s Migration Observatory.
Since implementation of the 1971 Immigration Act, Commonwealth citizens already living in the UK were given indefinite leave to remain. After this, a British passport-holder born overseas could only settle in the UK if they firstly had a work permit and, secondly, could prove that a parent or grandparent had been born in the UK. The Home Office did not keep a record of those granted leave to remain or issue any paperwork confirming it – meaning it is difficult for Windrush arrivals to prove they are in the UK legally.
Many who came from British colonies that had not achieved independence, believed they were British citizens however, now many who lack documents are now being told they need evidence to continue working, get treatment from the NHS – or even to remain in the UK. Changes to immigration law in 2012, which require people to have documentation to work, rent a property or access benefits, including healthcare, have left people fearful about their status
Croydon Council therefore invites Commonwealth British Citizens to an information and advice event supporting Croydon residents and their families affected by the Windrush issues.
Speakers will include representatives from:
Home Office • Elected Representatives • Immigration Specialists
Job Opportunity at Croydon BME Forum
Thursday 17th May 2018
BME Training & Awareness Officer at Croydon BME Forum (2 days per week across Lambeth, Croydon & Bromley/ 1 year):
The post-holder will increase the awareness and knowledge for the BME Communities in Croydon, Bromley and Lambeth around
domestic abuse and other related topics, by providing training and awareness sessions and workshops to statutory, voluntary and private sector organisations and local community groups.
Hours: 2 days (0.4 FTE)
Location: Lambeth, Croydon and Bromley
Organisation: Bromley & Croydon Women’s Aid
Contract Type: Fixed Term (1 year)
Deadline: 4th June 2018 / midday
Interviews: Training & Awareness Officer role on 11th June, Outreach Officer on 12th June.
Please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call us on 0208 313 9303 for an application pack.
Female applicants only.
In light of the nature of work, the candidate’s race and gender is considered to be an
occupational requirement in accordance with Schedule 9 (part 1) of the Equality Act 2010.
Bromley & Croydon Women’s Aid (BCWA), Asha Projects and Croydon BME Forum are seeking to recruit 3 new part-time roles as part of a 1-year BME Women’s Project across Lambeth, Croydon and Bromley.
The BME Women’s Project is a 1-year project aims to offer both prevention and bespoke support services for BME women who suffer or are at risk of domestic abuse and other forms of violence against women and girls (VAWG).
We are well-established, innovative and forward thinking domestic abuse/ BME specialist services and are seeking self-motivated, flexible and experienced individuals to join our dynamic teams to help us deliver excellent services to vulnerable BME women who have experienced domestic abuse.
Serious Violence Strategy
Monday 9th April 2018
The Serious Violence Strategy sets out the government’s response to serious violence and recent increases in knife crime, gun crime and homicide.
Law enforcement is a very important part of the Serious Violence Strategy, but it also looks at the root causes of the problem and how to support young people to lead productive lives away from violence.
Action in the strategy is centred on 4 main themes:
- tackling county lines and misuse of drugs
- early intervention and prevention
- supporting communities and local partnerships
- law enforcement and the criminal justice response
Knife Crime: £50,000 Grant given to Croydon group to stamp out Problem
Tuesday 27th March 2018
For Andrew Brown, stamping out knife crime has always been a priority.
So when the interim CEO at Croydon BME Forum found out his group had been awarded a £50,000 grant to do just that, he knew he had to make it count.
“People might see an article every week about someone being stabbed, but the issue goes much deeper than that,” Mr Brown said.
“Croydon has been really badly affected over the last two years and now with this money, we’re hoping to bring about a real change.”
An ‘umbrella’ group, BME plans to spread the money across five Croydon-based organisations, each with its own plan of tackling the growing knife problem.
But as the 45-year-old says, the hardest part about running a volunteer group is simply staying open.
“In the voluntary sector a lot are doing good work,” Mr Brown said.
“But they don’t last because they don’t have the money.
“What we will be doing is to make sure they are sustainable over another 12 months.”The funding comes as part of an anti-knife initiative by Mayor of London Sadiq Khan that will see a total of £1.4 million given out to groups across the capital.
“Prevention is the most effective tool we have,” Mr Khan said
“With the funds announced today, these community and grass-roots projects will be able to help root out violence within our communities and give more young Londoners the skills, support and aspirations they need to turn away from crime and fulfil their potential.”
BME plans to work hand in hand with the chosen groups (Music Relief, ANOS, Lions Society, Alliance Society and one still to be chosen) to combine their knowledge of the area.
“Everyone is doing really good work, but it isn’t coordinated at times,” Mr Brown said.”I could be working with one man, but three other organisations could be working with the same young man.
This is how £50,000 is going to be spent in Croydon to tackle Knife Crime.
Sunday 25th March 2018
The Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has given tens of thousands of pounds to Croydon organisations to tackle knife crime in the borough.
Croydon BME Forum, Lions society, Another Night of Sisterhood (ANOS) and Music Relief have all been chosen to benefit from the mayor’s £1.4 million anti-knife crime fund.
Croydon BME Forum has been given £49,736 to deliver training and support to organisations. The money will be spent on helping young people aged from eight to 25 who are at risk of being recruited into gangs and offending as well as supporting their parents.
Andrew Brown, interim CEO of Croydon BME Forum, said: “The funding will help us deliver capacity building training and support to five grassroots organisations who provide activities for people affected by knife crime in Croydon, reaching at least 60 people over a 12-month period.”
Croydon BME Forum – £49,736 to deliver training and support to five grassroots organisations who provide activities for people affected by knife crime in Croydon, reaching at least 60 people.
He added: “The second part of the programme will support five groups to continue with the good work they are doing in tackling the underlying issues surrounding knife crime.
“The groups will deliver a programme of activities to parents and young people aged eight to 25 [who are] at risk of offending, being recruited into gangs, at risk of becoming, or not in education, employment or training (NEET).
“And for parents who feel excluded from their children’s lives.”
Within the workshops offered Mr Brown says there will be music therapy, community empowerment, employment and awareness of social media.
A mentoring system, where groups go into five schools in the borough, will also be able to happen, as well as 1,000 hours of outreach support in the north of Croydon.
He added: “The problem is that the small groups are doing wonderful work, but they are not getting the money in, and they have to pay bills.”
MP for Croydon Central, Sarah Jones, who was involved in lobbying the Mayor’s office to secure the funding, hopes it will make a difference.She said: “There’s obviously still a lot of priority to be given to knife crime by the government, but I think it’s a really good model.”
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan said: “As Mayor, I’m doing everything possible in London not only to be tough on knife crime, but tough on the causes of knife crime too.
“City Hall has stepped up where the government is letting our young people down.
“We are providing unprecedented additional funds to the Met Police, driving forward a full and comprehensive knife crime strategy and our new young Londoners fund will help many young people to thrive, prosper and make the right choices to avoid being sucked into a life of crime.
“Prevention is the most effective tool we have.
“These community and grass-roots projects will be able to help root out violence within our communities and give more young Londoners the skills, support and aspirations they need to turn away from crime and fulfil their potential.”
Croydon BME Forum has been successfully chosen as one of the First anti-knife crime projects to benefit from new £1.4m fund
Friday 23rd March 2018
Nine community and grassroots anti-knife initiatives across London have received a share of £250,000 from City Hall as part of the Mayor’s comprehensive strategy to tackle violence and knife crime across the capital, with a further £1.15m to be awarded later this spring.
The successful groups work with young people to help prevent and protect them from knife crime. They include a boxing club in Brixton, music training in Hackney and Tower Hamlets, and support workshops and activities in Croydon, Southwark, and Lambeth.
The funding is part of Sadiq Khan’s comprehensive Knife Crime Strategy published in June 2017, which included a £250,000 Knife Crime Community Seed Fund. Since then, Sadiq has provided an additional £1.15m for these projects through his new Young Londoners Fund, taking the total to £1.4m.
Croydon BME Forum – £49,736 to deliver training and support to five grassroots organisations who provide activities for people affected by knife crime in Croydon, reaching at least 60 people
Somali Relief and Islamic cultural centre – £6,337 to deliver five community consultation events for 100 Somali parents and young people in Southwark to raise awareness of knife crime
Hammersmith and Fulham Anti-Tribalism Movement – £31,173 for the Anti-Tribalism Movement to work in partnership with Council of Somali Organisations, delivering the ‘Quit Knives Saves Lives Desistance Programme’. This programme is a much-needed programme to tackle the spike in anti-social behaviour affecting young Somali men living in London.
Mancunian Way – £8,650 to deliver an outreach project from a community centre reaching around 100 young estate residents engaged in or at risk of knife crime in Hackney
Dwaynamics CIC – £49,780 to provide boxing and health activities to 192 young people in Lambeth and run a series of knife crime workshops
The Flavasum Trust – £14,016 to deliver awareness-raising workshops to 4,000 pupils in 20 London schools in areas worst affected by knife crime, including Newham, Lambeth and Tower Hamlets.
Raw Material Music and Media Education – £34,498 to support 50 young people in Brixton who are offenders, or are at risk of offending, to engage in creative activities and training and employment workshops over 40 weeks
WISE Youth Trust – £20,000 to deliver workshops, music production and digital media skills courses for 150 young people in Hackney and Tower Hamlets
ML Community Enterprise – £32,664 to deliver a therapeutic support project for 24 young male and female victims of crime and violence in Lambeth
During the development of the Mayor’s Strategy and his new anti-knife crime campaign, ‘London Needs You Alive’, many of the young people consulted said they want to be engaged with by people from their communities who they know and trust, and who have experienced some of the same issues and challenges around knife crime.
With that in mind, the community funding has been boosted to £1.4m by the Mayor’s Young Londoners Fund, created by Sadiq to support education, sport and cultural activities for young people to help tackle knife crime and youth violence, which has been rising across the country since 2014. In contrast to this investment by the Mayor, central government continues to cut vital services including £22m from London’s youth services since 2011, which has resulted in the closure of some 30 youth centres that had served at least 12,700 young Londoners*.
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “As Mayor, I’m doing everything possible in London not only to be tough on knife crime, but tough on the causes of knife crime too.
“City Hall has stepped up where the government is letting our young people down. We are providing unprecedented additional funds to the Met police, driving forward a full and comprehensive Knife Crime Strategy and our new Young Londoners Fund will help many young people to thrive, prosper and make the right choices to avoid being sucked into a life of crime.
“Prevention is the most effective tool we have, and with the funds announced today, these community and grass-roots projects will be able to help root out violence within our communities and give more young Londoners the skills, support and aspirations they need to turn away from crime and fulfil their potential.”
Pastor Lorraine Jones, Dwaynamics, said: “We are thrilled and extremely excited to have been granted funding from the Mayor’s Community Seed Fund. This funding will go directly towards our new Errol Christie Awards initiative which will tackle the issues surrounding knife crime through a number of workshops, supported by sports programmes through boxing from which Dwaynamics was founded. This work will ensure that our at-risk youth have the support, love, and attention they need to go on to be the champions we know they are whether it be in their professional or personal lives. The Errol Christie awards will be the defining factor when a young man or woman makes their most important life decisions. This will keep them dedicated and focussed, steering them away from the growing gang culture we have seen in Lambeth. The legacy of my son Dwayne Simpson lives on”
The Mayor’s Office for Policing And Crime (MOPAC) will work with the successful bidders to provide mentoring and support, and to assist in building relationships with Safer Neighbourhood Boards. The Knife Crime Community Seed Fund is being managed by London Community Foundation.
Rosie Tharp, London Community Foundation, said: “We are delighted that MOPAC has committed funding to support the voluntary and community sector to respond to knife crime. These small charities and organisations face many challenges and are often run by volunteers and goodwill. It is positive that MOPAC recognises that community organisations are well-placed to tackle knife crime and has made funding available to support a range of services and interventions in priority areas across London.”
Later this week, the Deputy Mayor for Policing and Crime will bring together representatives from the Met Police, local authorities, the NHS and London’s communities in a public Policing Matters meeting at City Hall, as work continues to drive forward the Mayor’s public health approach to tackle knife crime in the capital.
Home Office uses real-life cases in #knifefree ad campaign
Friday 23rd March 2018
An advertising campaign to reduce knife crime among young people featuring real cases has been launched in England and Wales amid warnings of a stabbing epidemic in London.
The £1.35m Home Office campaign will target 10- to 21-year-olds on social media and digital TV channels. A poster campaign will be displayed in English cities where knife crime is prevalent.
The #knifefree adverts focus on real stories of young people who decided not to carry a knife in an effort to inspire others to pursue positive alternatives, the department said.
The campaign forms part of the government’s forthcoming serious violence strategy, and comes as the number of fatal shootings and stabbings since January in London .
“We need to do more to help young people understand that carrying a knife doesn’t solve anything, in fact all it does is increase the likelihood that you will be imprisoned, seriously injured or murdered.
“Introducing young people to the life stories of others who have faced the same challenges but have chosen to live knife-free is a powerful way to help them make more positive choices.”
The ads, which will run for six weeks, are based on research which found that real-life stories of young people talking about their experiences with knives resonated with the target audience.
They point young people to a dedicated website which provides advice, information on support services and activities aimed at empowering them to change their behaviour.
The home secretary, Amber Rudd, said: “The emotional stories at the heart of the new Knife Free campaign bring home in powerful fashion just what a far-reaching impact it can have on a young person’s life if they make the misguided decision to carry a knife.
“I hope any young person who is seriously thinking about carrying a knife listens to what the implications can be and realises what options are available if they choose to live knife-free.”
The government has consulted on new laws on offensive and dangerous weapons, including banning online stores from delivering knives to residential addresses and making it an offence to possess certain weapons in private.
Social isolation and BME older people in Croydon
Tuesday 20th March 2018
Croydon BME Forum held an event to discuss the key issues around social isolation and BME older people in Croydon. The issue (and possible solutions) were summarised in a report that the Community Development Worker for older adult had produced as a result of the engagement with local health/social care professionals and older people.
Cllrs Louisa Woodley (Cabinet Member for Families, Health and Social Care) and her Deputy (Cllr Patsy Cummings) joined eighty-two participants, including social workers, voluntary sector staff and older people themselves. Police officers, a representative from Transport for London and a senior therapist from Croydon Psychological Therapies and Wellbeing Service answered questions from the audience.
The report will be finalised and circulated by Thursday 5th April 2018. For any queries, or if you are interested in receiving a copy, please contact Anna DAgostino, Community Development Worker (older adults) at email@example.com or call 020 8684 3719
Croydon’s Young Mayor announced!
Thursday 15th March 2018
Croydon’s young people have elected William Awomoyi to be the borough’s first ever Young Mayor and a new voice for London’s largest youth population.
William, 14, a pupil at The Cedars School, was tonight (15 March) revealed as the winner of first Croydon’s Young Mayor Election. Shea Williams, 15, who attends Harris Academy South Norwood, will serve as Deputy Young Mayor after winning the second highest number of votes.
Together they will represent Croydon’s 93,500 under-18s – that’s 1 in 20 young Londoners – and play a key role in local decision-making, ensuring that young people’s views are heard on the issues that matter to them.
William campaigned on his manifesto, and his main aims were preventing youth crime and safety. His campaign video can be seen here. Shea’s top manifesto aims were out of school careers and workshops. Her campaign video can be seen here. Both their manifestos are available in full at www.croydon.gov.uk/youngmayor.
Both were elected following an exciting three-week campaign in which 28 candidates aged 11-17 from across the borough battled it out for the top job. Highlights included Young Mayor boot camp; a Speaker’s Corner-style debate in the town centre and a public question time where candidates were quizzed on a huge range of local issues.
More than 12,000 young people aged 11-18 headed to the ballot boxes in schools, colleges and community centres on polling day – a new local record for youth democracy.
After the results were announced tonight William said: “When they said my name I was flabbergasted. I did not expect to attain victory in this way! I’ve been out campaigning every day, on public transport, in the streets, at schools. I want to thank my family, my friends and everyone who supported me and voted for me. Croydon is a great place and I have a passion for making it better for everyone. A modernised Croydon, a safer Croydon, a peaceful Croydon.”
Councillor Tony Newman, leader of the council
“Huge congratulations to William Croydon’s first ever Young Mayor and Deputy Young Mayor Shea. I am absolutely delighted to welcome you to Croydon Council. You will be a strong voice for young people across our borough and we want you, as their representatives, to play a key role in local decision-making.”
Cllr Alisa Flemming cabinet member for children, young people and learning, added
“Congratulations to William and Shea. I am really looking forward to working with you both to raise the profile of Croydon’s young people.
“I also want to congratulate all of the candidates on an excellent campaign. You have all, without exception, inspired me with your energy, enthusiasm and willingness to stand up and raise your voices for what you believe in.
“Most importantly, you have inspired other young people across the borough, to stand up for what they believe in. More than 12,000 of them voted on Tuesday and this amazing turnout is testament to all your hard work. Don’t stop – you still have much to offer and we want to continue hearing your voices through our youth councils. This is absolutely not the end – it is very much the beginning.”
The Young Mayor election is the latest initiative in Croydon’s Choose Your Future campaign, through which the council, its partners and the community are empowering young people to make positive life choices.
Croydon’s Young Mayor will be formally introduced to the council’s cabinet at their next meeting on Monday 19 March.
Voter ID trials ‘risk disenfranchising vulnerable people’
Tuesday, 6th March 2018
A group of more than 40 charities, campaign groups and academics have written to the government to warn that plans to trial compulsory voter ID at the local elections in May risk disenfranchising large numbers of vulnerable people.
The letter to Chloe Smith, the constitution minister, says the pilot scheme is a disproportionate response to the scale of electoral fraud, noting that in 2016 there were just 44 allegations of voter impersonation, the issue that compulsory ID is intended to combat.
It said Electoral Commission figures indicated that 3.5 million people in Britain – 7.5% of the electorate – do not have access to any form of photo ID.
The letter was organised by the Electoral Reform Society and is signed by the heads of organisations including Age UK, the RNIB, the Salvation Army, the British Youth Council, Stonewall, Operation Black Vote, Liberty, the National Union of Students and St Mungo’s.
Guardian Today: the headlines, the analysis, the debate – sent direct to you
It says the trial, which will require voters in five local authorities to show ID before they can vote on 3 May, could “present a significant barrier to democratic engagement and risk compromising a basic human right for some of the most marginalised groups in society”.
The letter says research has shown that the voters least likely to possess the necessary ID include young or older people, those with disabilities, BAME communities, homeless people and transgender and gender non-conforming people.
It argues that although the councils taking part in the pilots will provide other options for those without photo ID, “the measures do not go far enough to alleviate the potential risk of disenfranchisement and deterrent to voting”.
It also expresses concern about low levels of public awareness about the pilots and the issues they might cause, despite the local elections being just two months away.
Croydon commits £250k to support borough youth
Wednesday, 28th February 2018
Youth projects and community groups that work to help young people make positive choices are to benefit from a boost of a quarter of a million pounds.
The funding was announced by councillor Alisa Flemming, cabinet member for children, young people and learning, at Monday’s cabinet meeting.
The money will be used in a range of ways – to support early-stage funding for groups that wish to start initiatives to support young people, to match-fund plans already in place and to help existing groups reach more youngsters borough wide by investing in their outreach programmes.
Councillor Alisa Flemming, cabinet member for children, young people and learning
“The cash supports the message of the council’s Choose Your Future campaign, which aims to encourage young people to make positive choices, and to
raise young people’s awareness of knife crime.
“This money will boost the amount of work we do to support young people, from helping new youth groups and support services set up, to adding further backing to the borough’s existing youth and outreach groups.
“We will back our youth and community groups and grass-roots level, to ensure we are working within all sectors of our diverse community.”
The youth work will be funded by the 2018/2019 budget.
Mayor sets up £45m fund to help young Londoners
Tuesday, 13th February 2018
Young Londoners at risk of getting caught up in crime will be supported by a new £45 million fund created by Mayor Sadiq Khan to counter government cuts and “end the scandal of young talent going to waste”.
Young Londoners at risk of getting caught up in crime will be supported by a new £45 million fund created by Mayor Sadiq Khan to counter government cuts and “end the scandal of young talent going to waste”.
The Young Londoners Fund will invest in vital services to help vulnerable children and young adults develop, particularly those who have been left behind or marginalised, and work to prevent them being sucked into crime.
In London, Government cuts over the last eight years have forced councils to slash more than £22m from youth services, with 30 youth centres closed and at least 12,700 places for young people lost.
“It is shameful that because of this Government’s cuts, youth services across the capital have been decimated,” Sadiq said.
“I know from personal experience that for many young people, particularly those from deprived and disadvantaged communities, activities and services for young people offer support at crucial times, have a really positive impact and help keep them on the straight and narrow,” the Mayor said.
The three-year fund will see £10m a year made available for local communities, charities and schools to bid for. The remaining £5m a year will be invested to scale up existing projects funded by City Hall that support young Londoners.
Sadiq announced the Young Londoners Fund while visiting the Salmon Youth Centre in Bermondsey, which supports young people to fulfil their potential and contribute positively to their communities.
“Salmon has been reaching out to young people in inner city London for over a hundred years,” Sam Adofo, Director at the Salmon Youth Centre, said.
“We very much welcome The Mayor’s Young Londoners Fund as it means youth centres like ours will be able to continue the work we do and impact many more young lives.”
The funding comes in addition to the £7m investment the Mayor has already made into knife and gang crime projects in 2017-18.
‘Mott MacDonald Volunteers gave us a 60 min Makeover!’
Friday, 9 February 2018
Down at the BME Forum the doors are always open to the local community and earlier this week,
We welcomed a group of 8 volunteers from Mott MacDonald courtesy of Croydon Commitment in to help re-paint one of our main rooms in the building. As soon as the group began painting, the change was almost instant! They laughed, shared jokes ate ice cream and worked very hard to get the room completed within just 2 hours and 30 mins.
Painting companies should most definitely fear the competition nearby, because we will certainly be welcoming them back to work with us in the future. Not to mention the cheeky enquiries about whether they offer this service for houses too! See some of the pictures and videos below of the fun we got up to.
Croydon BME Forum would also like to give a massive thanks to B&Q for our paint donation, and an even larger thank you to the team from Mott MacDonald for offering their services and Croydon Commitment for aligning us. Both organisations are conducting great works and we encourage everybody to check them out and come together to get involved in any way possible.
TEAM – Together Everyone Achieves More!
THE REAL CRIME IS A LOST GENERATION
Jan 24, 2018
School boy Jermaine Goupall was just minutes from his home when he was stabbed in the thigh – bleeding out on the pavement – as he tried to flee masked knife wielding teenagers.
A court has been hearing how it was the climax of a feud between the CR7 and CR0 gang over music videos on You Tube.
Kyall, 17, was stabbed once through the heart and died on the street on New Year’s Eve in Tulse Hill after a row with fellow teenagers. Police say Kyall had a knife and was witnessed acting ‘very aggressively’ before his death.
Detectives told Southwark coroners court that during the confrontation with his killer, Kyall’s friends told him to “stab him, finish him off”, which the younger boy claimed caused him to take out his own knife from his bag and stab Kyall in an attempt to protect himself.
Derryck John is featured in a missing poster last summer and a week later commits an appalling series of acid attacks that shocks the nation leaving one victim with life changing injuries. He committed the crimes with an unknown assailant and now faces a considerable prison sentence. In a statement, John said he was frightened of the other man involved, who is much older than him.
What links all these boys is their ages, ethnicity and home address – Thornton Heath – and how momentary ill-conceived acts end lives, futures and devastate families.
The victims and perpetrators are often the same individuals and music, peer pressure, and social media are contributing to young people making poor choices.
Preferring to live for now rather than the future, money and respect is valued over aspiration for some of our young.
Last week Magdalene Adenaike of Music Relief chaired a Youth Initiative meeting attended by youth groups, parents and residents in Thornton Heath which called for a community youth champion, to act as go-between raising the concerns of the community with the council.
Croydon had one of the highest levels of youth violence in London over the past year.
It can’t be a coincidence that the council’s children’s services and the Croydon Safeguarding Children Board (CSCB), which tackles issues such as gang and knife crime, were rated “inadequate” by inspectors.
Youth services and the police have also faced huge cuts with fewer officers struggling to tackle soaring knife crime.
At the meeting concerns were raised about how some young people choose to follow others with a “sheep mentality”, for fear of looking stupid.
This led to calls for initiatives to help the young make better decisions by being able to signpost them and their families to organisations that will enable them to channel their energies positively.
It also highlighted the need for parents to take a role in ensuring they knew the whereabouts of their children.
An in-depth conversation about knife crime focussed on the impact on teenagers, especially when the victim is known to them.
Joan Idris, from Off The Record which offers free counselling and on-line support to young people said: “More and more young people are dealing with the devastating affects of losing someone they know to violence and often they are not signposted to seek emotional support for bereavement or the anxiety they are experiencing.”
Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has announced an extra £15 million to tackle the knife crime epidemic and if any additional income raised from council tax can be invested in youth services.
Clearly this is a complex issue and won’t have a simple overnight solution. It isn’t just about statutory organisations – it’s about parents, schools and the community working together to ensure that the next generation has the confidence to be different and value life more.
If you are dealing with the loss of a close friend, get in touch with Off The Record for confidential support
Last year 16-year-old Derryck John carried out six acid attacks in 90 minutes in order to steal mopeds.
Five young people are in court accused of the murder of 15-year-old Jermaine Goupall on Georgia Road.
The 16-year-old boy who killed Kyall Parnell, may not be charged with his murder because he “acted in self-defence”.
‘It feels so close to home’: spate of stabbings unnerves London teenagers
January 18th 2018
One at a time, the children in the room stand up and perform in front of their peers and relatives – a song from Disney’s Frozen, a monologue from a play, a joke worthy of a Christmas cracker – while audience members observe a respectful quiet.
Along with a passion for performing arts, the youngsters assembled for the talent show at Croydon’s BME Forum have something else in common: in one way or another their lives have been touched by knife crime.
This isn’t the reason they have been brought together – the event has been organised by the youth group Music Relief Foundation (MRF), which is about using creativity to unleash young people’s potential. It is an unfortunate reality that if you’re a teenager in London, you or someone you know will have a story to tell about knife violence.
As well as stories of stabbings, the children all have strong views on how the problem – branded an epidemic by some – could be tackled.
After singing a touching rendition of Killing Me Softly, Nia Shaw, 18, tells the Guardian she knows the prime suspect in the killing of Kyall Parnell, a 17-year-old stabbed in Tulse Hill on New Year’s Eve. The 16-year-old boy, who has been arrested, lives two minutes from her home. “It happens all the time but you never expect it when it’s someone you know,” she says. “I didn’t think of him as someone who would carry a knife or any weapon. It now just feels so close to home.”
Parnell was one of four young people stabbed to death in the space of 15 hours over the new year period. The spate of unconnected stabbings across London brought the issue of knife crime back into focus once again. The story is fast becoming stuck on repeat.
Nia, who lives in Tulse Hill and attends Richmond-upon-Thames college, says she feels unnerved by the recent violence. “I feel like these stabbings didn’t really even have a target, they’re just innocent people getting caught up in them.”
“I think poverty is a factor,” she adds. She thinks punishment for knife crimes could be more severe. “It keeps on happening. The thought of punishment should stop you from making that mistake.”
She and many of her friends at MRF advocate youth clubs as a resource to help young people make better use of their time. But Nia says these clubs cannot just be a room in a community centre with the door left open for teenagers to come and go. “The club needs to be more than a space or a room,” she says. “It needs to have actual facilities and provide activities for young people to do.”
Javan Roberts, 15, attends the famous Brit School in Croydon, whose alumni include Adele and Amy Winehouse. At his previous school, Javan knew Jermaine Goupall, who died aged 15 after he was stabbed in the leg in in Thornton Heath last year. Javan learned of his former friend’s death through social media.
“It was so instant and unexpected,” he says. “I just clicked on Snapchat and I hear someone I knew had died. I heard about it and wrote a song.” And the message? “Its chorus went: ‘Cold blood, the brothers have no love.’”
Javan says he sees and hears about knife violence on an almost daily basis. “It’s repeated a lot,” he said. “You hear of boys trying to prove themselves, sometimes they’re trying to protect themselves.” But he is not intimidated. “I don’t feel scared. Some people are quite silly in the way they present themselves. I don’t need to act like a badman or a roadman because that’s not who I am.”
Kai Henderson, 13, was friends with Michael Jonas, a 17-year-old stabbed in Betts Park, Anerley, in south London last year. “He was stabbed a week after I last saw him,” he says. “That made me feel scared – if I went to that park it could be me. I’m still kind of scared of going back.”
Kai, who attends Orchard Park High in Croydon, has known of boys kicked out of school for carrying weapons but he does not believe that to be the answer. “That’s not right,” he says. “They’re taken out of school and put in places with other bad kids, where all the bad kids go. They should stay in school and should be given access to counsellors with support to help them out.”
Angel Lowe, 12, gives a spirited performance of a monologue from a play she has been studying at Gordon’s school, a state-run, voluntary-aided boarding school in Surrey. Angel boards there Monday to Friday before returning home to South Norwood at weekends. “When I’m at school I’m away from knife crime,” she says. “But when I’m home I’m reminded of it often.”
Angel says her stepsister’s cousin was stabbed 14 times in Peckham. “He was so lucky he didn’t die.” . She says many perpetrators of knife violence are part of an ignored part of society. “Maybe if someone was there just to listen to them and their views, they would be different. So many people feel like they’re not heard.” She also thinks the police who work in the communities to reduce knife crime need to be less confrontational.
Joshua Jean-Pierre, 13, who attends Harris Academy South Norwood, had a near-miss with a stabbing. “We had finished school, we were going to get a McDonald’s. My friend saw this boy who had tried to rob him before. He came over to us and he was about to get something out of his bag – we knew it was going to be a knife.”
A passing member of the public intervened and defused the situation, but it left him shaken. Perhaps he could turn to the police? “The police have come into our schools and searched our bags. It doesn’t make me feel safe. Children worry that the police will plant something in our bag and we’ll be arrested. There isn’t any trust.” And what about the government? “The government does nothing to tackle knife crime,” Joshua says. “They spend all their time and money on Brexit and not anywhere near enough on youth.”
Magdalene Adenaike, 37, set up Music Relief Foundation, originally for young mums, after she had her first child when she was 18. It evolved into a youth organisation with a goal of reaching out through music. “Young people are able to express themselves through music,” she says. “It’s a powerful and positive way of getting strong messages across.” MRF has a knife crime awareness campaign, More than Able, and last week representatives attended parliament with the Croydon MP Sarah Jones.
Among the audience at the MRF talent show are proud parents of the children taking part. Kai’s playful grandmother can’t resist joining in and steps up to the front to recite Maya Angelou’s poem Still I Rise. The children are captivated.
It’s a warm and magical moment in which the sense of the community in the room – and, particularly after the conversations that have taken place, its underlying fragility – is laid bare.
Young people ‘being let down’ as Croydon more than quarters its youth service spending
January 25 2018
The number of youth workers in Croydon – the borough with the largest child population in London – has fallen by 69% in four years.
A freedom of information request revealed that in an area with about 40,000 residents aged 11-18, full time jobs in youth work plunged from 61 in 2013-14, to just 19 in 2017-2018.In addition to this, the total amount spent on youth services in the borough dropped from more than £3.8million in 2013-14, to £794,000 in 2017-18. According to the council, spending figures between 2013 and 2016 are incomparable to those given for 2016/17 due to ‘multiple restructures and changes to service provision’.
Magdalene Adenaike, founder of Music Relief, a youth organisation in Croydon, said: “It’s very disturbing to see the figures.
Individuals and organisations with great intentions to support the youths are unfortunately being forced to seek alternative employment due to lack of funds.
“The young people are left without the support they desperately need and the consequences as we now see are very dire.
“We need financial support to help us continue the great work we do with the youths.”
London Mayor Sadiq Khan has repeatedly called on the Government to reverse cuts to youth services to help tackle the recent rise in knife crime across the city – and Croydon has one of the highest rates of knife crime in London.
Two of last year’s most high profile cases involved 17-year-old Aren Mali, killed in Croydon town centre’s main shopping street, and 16-year-old Jermaine Goupall murdered in Thornton Heath.
Mr Khan tweeted on January 4: “Government cuts to youth services, education, probation & the police are letting young Londoners down. They need to urgently prioritise these services if we are to tackle crime across our city.”
Government cuts to youth services, education, probation & the police are letting young Londoners down. They need to urgently prioritise these services if we are to tackle crime across our city. http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/sadiq-khan-crime-weak-causes-violence-london-met-police-theresa-may-home-office-stabbings-murders-a8141436.html …
Sadiq Khan accuses Government of being ‘weak on causes of crime’ amid rising violence
Sadiq Khan has attacked the Government over being “weak on the causes of crime” and suggested that cuts could be driving rising violence. Speaking after four young men were murdered in unrelated…
A Croydon Council spokesperson said wider government budget cuts were to blame for the figures showing a drop in youth services spending.
He highlighted a new youth engagement strategy implemented last year. “We have since shaped our delivery to reflect the needs of communities across the borough and increased our face to face sessions with young people,” he said.
“You will see from your campaigns there is a strong focus on giving young people a real voice in local decision-making.”
In a cabinet meeting on October 18 last year, Croydon Council set out its strategy for ‘championing children in Croydon’, which they estimated would cost £10,000.
As part of the strategy, a Young Mayor of Croydon will be elected this spring by 11-18 year-olds who live in the borough.
The Young Major will serve a fixed term and work with other young people to manage a budget that will benefit local voluntary sector groups.
How Scotland reduced knife deaths among young people
Sun 3 Dec 2017
In 2005, Strathclyde police set up a violence reduction unit (VRU) in an effort
to address a problem that had made Glasgow, in particular, notorious. Later
that year, a United Nations report illustrated why that strategy was so urgent.
The study concluded that Scotland was the most violent country in the
developed world. Based on telephone interviews with crime victims conducted
between 1991 and 2000, it found that excluding murder, Scots were almost
three times as likely to be assaulted as Americans and 30 times more likely
than the Japanese.
The VRU, which is directly funded by the Scottish government and has an
arms-length relationship with Police Scotland, was later rolled out across
Scotland. It has adopted a public health approach to knife crime, in which the
police work with those in the health, education and social work sectors to
address the problem. The results so far have been dramatic.
Of the 35 children and teenagers who have been killed with knives in Britain
so far this year, not one has been in Scotland. By contrast, in England and
Wales, 2017 looks set to become the worst year for deaths of young people by
knives in nearly a decade, according to figures revealed by the Guardian’s
Beyond the blade project, which aims to show the true picture of knife deaths
among children and teenagers in the UK.
Between April 2006 and April 2011, 40 children and teenagers were killed in
homicides involving a knife in Scotland; between 2011 and 2016, that figure
fell to just eight. The decline has been most precipitous in Glasgow, which
once had one of the highest murder rates in Western Europe. Between 2006
and 2011, 15 children and teenagers were killed with knives in Scotland’s
largest city; between April 2011 and April 2016, none were.
The number of people carrying knives also appears to have declined across
Scotland. According to figures from Police Scotland, there was 10,110 recorded
incidents of handling an offensive weapon in 2006-07, a figure which fell to
3,111 in 2015-16 – a decline of 69% in a decade.
The Scottish Police Federarion and police officers have raised concerns in
recent years that true extent of violent crime excluding murder might not be
fully represented in the figures. Crime recording methods were changed in
April 2017 and Police Scotland say knife crime has always been accurately
recorded in the country.
Some of Scotland’s success in tackling knife crime is due to factors that are
arguably unique to Scotland. But there are also lessons here for the rest of the
UK in general and London in particular. The evidence from Scotland suggests
that while knife crime, like most crimes, can never be eradicated, it need not
be understood as an intractable, cultural feature of urban life. To successfully
tackle it, however, there needs to be a shift in understanding of the root causes
of the problem and, therefore, what a durable solution might look like.
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