Local hub 639 Enterprise Centre becomes safe haven for young people

27 February 2014

The 639 High Road Enterprise Centre in Tottenham, which was set up with funding from the Mayor of London following the 2011 riots, is to become a CitySafe Haven, offering a place of refuge for vulnerable young people at risk.

More than 600 buildings across the capital, including City Hall, have already signed up to the CitySafe Haven network, which was set up by CitizensUK for people feeling threatened or at immediate risk.

The latest CitySafe Haven is dedicated to the life of 17 year old Godwin Lawson, who grew up in the Tottenham and was tragically killed in a knife attack in 2010. The building, which is home to a range of activities serving the local community, will now display the distinctive purple CitySafe logo in a window, identifying it to vulnerable people as somewhere to go when they feel at risk and need somewhere safe to go.

Run by local charity, the London Youth Support Trust (LYST), the 639 Enterprise Centre has already established itself as an important local resource for Tottenham, boosting job opportunities and skills development for local people, by housing business start-ups, training services, a social-enterprise café, shared workspace and exhibition space for local artists. It is also strengthening its role as a volunteering hub, with the Mayor's Team London programme helping to develop volunteering opportunities for local people, particularly roles that will help them into work.

639 Enterprise Centre Manager, Nicolette Nichols, says: 'As an enterprise centre that helps local young people start businesses, we are committed to supporting Tottenham and its residents. We are delighted to become the next CitySafe haven to help our neighbourhood be a safer place to be.'

Veronica Wadley, the Mayor of London's Senior Advisor on Volunteering, said: '639 has become a pivotal part of the local community, helping to boost jobs and skills through volunteering and training. We are committed to working with local people to ensure a brighter future for Tottenham.'

Godwin Lawson's mother Yvonne said: 'Losing Godwin through knife crime was the most unnatural and traumatic encounter any mother can face. Knowing he took his final breath on a busy high road intensifies the pain as to why nobody could intervene or help. The CSH scheme ensures the whole community work in collaboration to ensure young lives can be saved.'

Sophie Stephens, Citizens UK lead organiser, North London said: 'In November 2013 members of North London Citizens voted safety their number one priority for the coming year, so we are very proud to be launching 639 as a CitySafe Haven. The Citizens UK young leaders in North London have been working to build CitySafe Zones across the borough. This has involved building links with local shopkeepers and persuading them to offer their premises as a safe place for anyone who feels in immediate danger. The CitySafe scheme has been an opportunity for local police officers to connect with young people, post-riots, on a shared issue - to make the streets of Tottenham a safer place for all.'


Notes to editors

1. Team London hosted an event at 639 Enterprise Centre, bringing together representatives of local voluntary organisations and also marking it becoming a CitySafe Haven. Those attending included: Veronica Wadley, the Mayor's Senior Advisor on Volunteering; Team London Youth Ambassador and former Tottenham Hotspur player Ledley King; Yvonne and Calvin Lawson, parents of murdered teenage Godwin; Sophie Stephens from Citizens UK; representatives from the Jimmy Mizen Foundation; and pupils from Holy Trinity School in Somerset Road, who are responsible for instigating CitySafe Havens in the area.

2. Team London is the Mayor of London's ambitious programme to mobilise an army of volunteers across the capital. The aim is to improve life in London through programmes that will reduce crime, increase opportunities for youth and improve quality of life by cleaning and greening London and building stronger neighbourhoods. http://volunteerteam.london.gov.uk.

3. The Mayor's Regeneration Fund (MRF) aims to support sustainable economic growth in those areas worst affected by the 2011 civil disturbances. Boroughs bid to receive some of the £70 million allocated to the fund. The London Boroughs of Haringey and Croydon received the highest proportion of the funding, £28 million and £23 million respectively.

4. 639 is an Enterprise Centre set up with funding from the Mayor of London and run by local charity the London Youth Support Trust (LYST) to help Tottenham locals get started in business, gain employment skills or volunteer within the community. In 2011 part of the building was burnt during the Tottenham riots. Following the civil disturbances the Greater London Authority purchased the building and through the MRF renovated the building to become an enterprise centre for Tottenham. www.lystbusiness.com

5. The London Youth Support Trust (LYST) is a charity that provides young people with the space and support they need to get started in business. With a three year programme of affordable space and business mentoring, LYST has helped hundreds of young people across London overcome the business barriers to start their own enterprise. LYST currently has enterprise centres housing early start-ups in Hackney, Deptford and Southwark, and two centres in Tottenham.

6. CitySafe Havens are part of a community-led campaign from Citizens UK to make our streets safer. The campaign is about young people building relationships with the Police and local businesses to create CitySafe Havens. CitySafe Havens are places of safety for people in immediate danger or feeling threatened. Each Haven displays a purple CitySafe logo in its window and works with the police to report 100 per cent of crime. There are currently over 600 CitySafe Havens across London, including City Hall. CitySafe works with thousands of young people and adults in schools, colleges, charities, churches, mosques, synagogues and community groups, as part of the Citizens UK network. www.citizensuk.org/campaigns/citysafe-campaign

7. Citizens UK works to develop the capacity and skills of socially and economically disadvantaged communities so that their members are better able to identify and help meet their own needs; improve their neighbourhood; and participate more fully in society. http://www.citizensuk.org/