News from Jennette Arnold: Mayor visits City Hall-funded youth project, Hackney Wick F.C.
Sadiq visits one of the first projects to receive funding from his Young Londoners Fund this summer
- The Mayor highlighted the importance of prevention in tackling the root causes of violent crime, and warned that government cuts have led to reductions in youth services across the capital, failing young people
- No government money from the £11m announced in their Serious Violence Strategy has yet been spent
- The Mayor is also calling on boroughs, community groups, charities, youth centres and schools to provide City Hall with details of youth schemes they are running to be added to an interactive map launching in August
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, today visited one of the first of hundreds of activities he is funding to help keep young people away from the dangers of crime. This is the first stage in a roll out of new or expanded activities for young Londoners in areas worst affected by knife crime and targeted at the most vulnerable in the capital.
Speaking at Hackney Wick F.C., a project funded by his Young Londoners fund, the Mayor said that policing alone will not solve violent crime. He highlighted his commitment to focusing on prevention, and set out how he is bringing forward some of the money from his £45m Young Londoners Fund to invest in a series of projects providing a range of diversionary activities from football and swimming to cookery lessons for about 3,500 young Londoners who are most at risk of becoming involved in crime this summer.
In stark contrast, the government has failed to bring forward any of the £11m Early Intervention Youth Fund, announced as part of their Serious Violence Strategy over three months ago, in time to provide much-needed activities for the school holidays.
Sadiq is also warning that while his intervention will make a difference, massive government cuts continue to decimate many of the youth programmes that young Londoners rely upon. He is clear that the government need to do much more to tackle the root causes of crime - and that by failing to fund prevention properly, the government is failing London’s youth. A recent London Assembly report showed that at least £39 million has been cut from council youth service budgets across London, leading to the closure of at least 81 youth centres and major council-supported youth projects, and 800 full-time youth service posts disappearing. Over a million pounds more is set to disappear over the next year and since 2011, the cumulative amount not spent on services for young people in London is now more than £145 million. The government, in contrast, have announced an £11m fund over two years for the whole of England and Wales.
Starting today – in time for the summer holidays – and continuing to grow throughout the year, hundreds of projects will be working with 3,500 young Londoners having received funding from the Young Londoners Fund since Sadiq launched it in February, including:
- The City Hall sports team has brought forward £100,000 of their Young Londoners Fund allocation to increase their existing activities, allowing 1,700 young people to participate in sporting activities over the summer.
- Almost 1,000 vulnerable young people will take part in summer schools to support their transition from primary to secondary school.
- 17 projects funded by the Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime’s Community Seed Fund will be running activities over the summer
Hackney Wick F.C. is one of the first projects funded through the Mayor’s Young Londoners Fund. £10,000 of Mayoral investment is helping to run the "Street Tekkers" programme, specifically working with young people who are in a gang or have been in the criminal justice system. Hackney Wick F.C. runs 16 youth teams, plus sessions for children with additional needs, as well as two adult teams, engaging with 160 young people and 70 adults through training, fitness and football matches. They work with people already involved in gangs, those on the brink of gang life and those who might not be aware of dangers of the people around them through educational workshops, sporting opportunities, mentoring and access to work routes. Other projects include:
- ML Community Enterprise in Brixton (£16,322 of Young Londoners Funding) – Projects include sports, the arts, accredited learning, therapeutic and professional services, working with young people who have been victims of crime and active gang members.
- Godwin Lawson Foundation in Haringey (£47,528 of Young Londoners Funding) – Working with vulnerable young women at risk of becoming involved with or being exploited by gangs in Enfield, Haringey and Waltham Forest, as well as running a peer-to-peer mentoring programme, community sports events and work in schools and colleges to highlight the effect of knife crime through presentations, workshops, drama and discussions.
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “For many young Londoners growing up, particularly those from deprived and disadvantaged communities, there are often key crossroads in their lives. And without the necessary support and direction at these crucial moments, they can take decisions and paths that not only harm their own future, but negatively impact the rest of society.
“I know this all too well from personal experience growing up on an estate in south London. I knew people in my community – with great talent and potential – who took the wrong path and ended up going to prison.
“The truth is this could have happened to many of my childhood friends. But we were lucky. We were supported and given opportunities to get into things like boxing, football and other youth activities.
“Sadly, there are now far fewer opportunities like this for young Londoners due to the massive cuts from the government that have decimated many of the programmes that provide paths away from crime. This is failing London’s youth.
“As Mayor, I’m doing all I can and I’m funding a range of initiatives over the summer months and beyond, including sports activities. But until the government reverses their cuts to youth services, we won’t be able to meet demand. Policing alone will not solve violent crime – we also need a relentless focus on prevention so we can give young Londoners the opportunity to fulfil their potential.”
Bobby Kasanga, founder of Hackney Wick FC and centre manager of the Wickers Charity said: “I would like to thank Mayor Khan for supporting the fight against knife crime in Hackney and all over London.
"The Street Tekkers initiative is something we have been planning for some time and we hope that it encourages familiarity between youths from different communities and helps to put an end to post code wars.
“We will be running a full football programme five days a week during the summer holidays and we want as many youths to take part as possible.”
Brian Akintokun, Community Development Director of Hackney Wick FC said: “What is unique about our club is that we are always finding new initiatives to fight the issue of knife crime. Whether it be hosting the charity football match - United Against Knife Crime - the Street Tekkers, or matches in prisons, to our London wide initiative next year the 32 Borough Cup, it shows we think outside the box.”
Yvonne Martin, operations manager for the Wickers Charity, who are sponsored by the Aitch Group, said: “We are joined at the hip with Hackney Wick FC and our aim is to help reduce knife crime by educating our young people about better life choices.
“This is a great opportunity for the local community to pull together for Street Tekkers and we would like to thank the Mayor for believing in us and supporting such an important cause.”
To help young people and their parents plan their summer and find out what is happening in their local area, Sadiq will be launching an interactive map early next month, with details of all the activities and projects that City Hall has funded. He is calling on boroughs, community groups, charities, youth centres and schools to provide City Hall with details of schemes they are running to be added to the map. It will allow Londoners to search for what’s going on in the communities around them.
The map will form part of Sadiq’s comprehensive programme of measures to protect Londoners from knife crime, which includes publishing a dedicated Knife Crime Strategy for London last summer, investing a further £138m in the Met Police over the last two years, including £15m specifically for the police to tackle knife crime, and launching his £45m Young Londoners Fund for projects that offer skills, training, mentoring and help young people aspire to reach their potential and avoid getting caught up in crime.
The Mayor will be funding further projects this summer and throughout the course of the year as money is allocated from the first major bidding round of the Young Londoners Fund, which closed earlier this month.
The Mayor also launched his draft Sport Strategy today, which aims to boost London’s status as one of the world’s leading sports cities by continuing to support internationally renowned major events, as well as ensuring more Londoners can engage and benefit from them. Sadiq is keen to encourage people of all ages and physical abilities into community sport, which he is helping fund through his £8.8m Sport Unites programme, to improve social integration and the physical and mental health of Londoners. The strategy is open for consultation until 12th October 2018 and can be accessed at https://www.london.gov.uk/what-we-do/sports/have-your-say-draft-london-sports-strategy
Notes to editors
- In March, the Mayor set out the first £5m of funding which is being used to expand projects for Londoners that City Hall are already supporting. These include:
- £1m to expand grassroots sports community grants and partnership programmes
- £1.15m of additional funds for small voluntary and community projects to tackle knife crime in affected neighbourhoods
- £500,000 to support services that help young Londoners to exit gangs – both those involved in youth violence and those who are exploited
- £250,000 to expand the Stepping Stones programme which supports vulnerable students moving from primary to secondary school
- £200,000 for Headstart Action - social action pilot projects linking young people to business via employability workshops and work experience
- £500,000 for Team London’s volunteering projects for young people affected by mental health issues - such as those within the criminal justice system or young refugees or asylum seekers
- £640,000 to extend support for victims of crime, serious violence and sexual exploitation to more Accident and Emergency departments across London
- £375,000 to train teachers and youth workers in Mental Health First Aid in every state secondary school across London
- £200,000 for Impact for Youth: support to help local organisations and young people generate and deliver grassroots proposals for the Young Londoners Fund
- £185,000 to support the Mayor’s anti-knife crime campaigning activities
- The Mayor published his full and comprehensive Knife Crime Strategy in June 2017. Since then:
- The Mayor has invested an additional £138m in the Met over the last two years in order to reduce the impact of the Government’s massive cuts to policing budgets. This includes £15m specifically to help tackle knife crime.
- The Mayor has created the Young Londoners Fund – a brand-new £45million fund for local communities and charities to help young people fulfil their potential particularly those who are at risk of getting caught up in crime.
- Every single London borough now has a bespoke knife crime action plan created in partnership with the Met police.
- Every school and college in London can now receive a knife wand, to help keep young people safe and prevent knife crime at school. 200 schools in London have taken up the Mayor's offer of a knife wand and the Deputy for Policing and Crime, Sophie Linden, wrote again to schools reminding them of how they can obtain a wand if they would like one.
- On 31 October 2017, the Mayor hosted a Knife Crime Education Summit which brought together education providers, education leaders, Principals, Academy Trust Chairs, board members and Governmental bodies to better understand their needs and agree a plan of action to help tackle knife crime. As a result, Ofsted have agreed to deliver a thematic inspection on knife crime and safeguarding in London schools.
- The Mayor is working to increase the number of Safer Schools Officers across the capital, to engage with pupils and drive down crime in schools.
- The Mayor’s first anti-knife crime media campaign, ‘London Needs You Alive’, launched in November. The campaign brings together role models and social media youth ‘influencers’ to encourage young people away from carrying a knife, focusing on their talent and worth to the capital. With hundreds of thousands of social media followers between them, leading grime artist Yungen, MC Bossman Birdie, photographer Tom Sloan and urban poet Hussain Manawer are among those supporting it.
- The Mayor confirmed he is investing £1.4m to continue to provide youth workers in Major Trauma Centres, and place more youth workers to hospital A&E departments, to help steer young Londoners who have been involved in knife crime away from violence in the future.
- During Operation Winter Nights, which ran from November until December 2017, the Met made over 900 arrests and took more than 350 weapons off the streets – including 278 knives, 61offensive weapons and 20 firearms. The total number of arrests included 334 arrests following stop and searches.
- In November, MOPAC and the Met hosted a retailers’ workshop to discuss what more the business community can do to reduce knife crime. Attendees included representatives from Business Crime Reduction Partnerships, Business Improvement Districts, Trading Standards, Local Police, national retailers, independent retailers, the British Retail Consortium and British Independent Retailer Association.
- MOPAC is creating the London Knife Crime Dashboard which will be publicly available. This will be one of a number of dashboards that the public and stakeholders can use access and interpret data on a number of types of crime.
- The Mayor has dedicated £7m to projects to help tackle youth violence, including: Gang Exit (£500,000), Major Trauma Centres (£444,615), Information Sharing to Tackle Violence (£168,000), Victim Support Children & Young people (£360,861), and youth projects under the London Crime Prevention Fund (£5,295,717).
- MOPAC and the Met continue work to collaborate and learn from other forces and partners on tackling knife crime and violence. Deputy Mayor for Policing and Crime Sophie Linden and Met Commissioner Cressida Dick met Police Scotland in Glasgow in February.
- Prevention is more effective than enforcement, but the fact remains that after years of Government underfunding and cuts, the Met police is significantly underfunded causing a huge drain on resources and officer numbers are falling. Time and again, we have called on the Government, who are responsible for more than 70 per cent of the Met police budget, to do the right thing and give our police the funds they need to keep us safe. But they have refused. We will continue to work tirelessly to help keep our young Londoners safe.
Source: London's lost youth services 2018, Sian Berry 2018