Mayor invests £1m in power of sport to tackle serious youth violence

30 July 2019


  • Sports projects supporting those at risk of crime encouraged to bid for share of Mayor’s £1.1m fund
  • Sadiq forms one-of-a-kind steering group of London community sports experts to identify causes and propose solutions to serious youth violence
  • Part of the Mayor’s major package of work to help tackle causes of youth violence and knife crime


The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has today announced that more than £1m of funding will be made available to sports groups supporting young Londoners at risk of exclusion or getting involved in violence and criminal activity.


Bids are open now for the Mayor’s £1.1m Impact Partnership Fund, which will invest in projects that use sport to support young people at risk of getting involved in crime through creating employment and training opportunities.


Sadiq made the announcement at the inaugural meeting of his Serious Youth Violence Steering Group. The steering group consists of representatives from 20 organisations the Mayor has previously funded through his £45m Young Londoners Fund Sport Unites programme. Each of these organisations has also selected a young person involved in their prevention programme to join the group. The young people will have an equal seat at the table and will play a key role in coordinating the work of the group, as well as sharing their own insight and experiences of being at risk of getting involved in crime. The steering group is the first of its kind in the sport sector. It will bring together London community sports experts to help identify causes, share best practice, and propose solutions to serious youth violence.


The work undertaken today forms part of the Mayor’s package of measures tackling the scourge of youth violence in the capital. Earlier this month he announced £360,000 of investment from his Young Londoners Fund for 43 projects taking place during the summer holidays and providing positive opportunities for 3,500 young people at risk of getting involved in crime. Half of the projects supported by this investment are taking place in the wards in the top 10 per cent for rates of serious youth violence. These activities follow the £20.5m Sadiq has already invested from his £45m Young Londoners Fund – which was launched in March 2018 – in activities that are now benefitting 66,000 young Londoners. Details of projects running over the summer holidays and available across every borough can be found on City Hall’s interactive online map at


The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “I have seen first-hand the unique power of sport to engage young people and help them to turn their lives around.


“The organisations that I have brought together today are already making a huge difference to the lives of thousands of young people in our city, which is why I am providing a further £1.1m of funding to help even more sports projects provide positive, meaningful activities to help young people make the right choices in life.


“Serious violent incidents involving young Londoners is down by nearly 20 per cent compared to last year, but we cannot be complacent. We know that to tackle violent crime, we must be tough on the causes of crime. I am doing all that I can on this from City Hall, but we urgently need Government to reverse cuts to youth clubs, schools and local services – or risk failing a generation.”


Navjeet Sira, Director of Design and Impact at the Change Foundation, said: “At The Change Foundation we are always actively looking for solutions through sport to support young people with the complex challenges they face every day. We are looking forward to being part of this dynamic steering group that is consulting with a truly diverse group of activists and young people, but also funding important projects, even those testing innovative ideas through sport. This combination shows a real dedication to tackling serious violence since one cannot happen without the other.”


JC, age 17, The Change Foundation graduate, said: “I think it’s a great idea that this steering group has been set up, especially since all we hear about is cut backs at youth centres. The more opportunities we can create for young Londoners to take part in (and enjoy), the less crime and violence you’ll have. It’s that simple.”


James Gregory, London Director for StreetGames, said: “StreetGames are pleased to be part of the GLA’s new Sport & Serious Youth Violence Steering Group for London.


“Working in partnership is critical to ensuring that the right organisations can deliver the right sports interventions in the communities where they are needed most to help young people navigate through the so-called danger years of 14-25. Together we can help young people and their communities to be healthier, safer and more successful.”


Dwight is a former StreetGames participant who first started attending when he was 13-years-old. He is now a football development officer for Brixton-based charity St. Matthew’s Project. Dwight said: “It’s so vital that local projects get proper support to put on more sports for young people. I think it’s also a good thing that there is a common mission that works towards getting more youth and sports activities delivered out in the community to engage with young people to keep them occupied, off the streets and out of trouble.


“Charities are doing great things at the moment and their services are so needed, but they definitely need more support so they can continue to use sport change and save lives – the young people need places to go, things to do and supportive and understanding people to talk to – this is what sport does.”


Jenny Oklikah, UK Director for Fight for Peace, said: "Fight for Peace supports young people to realise their potential through the use of sport, personal development, education, employment and youth leadership. We welcome the Mayor of London's new steering group on Sport and Serious Youth Violence and look forward to seeing meaningful participation of young people in the design and evaluation of policy and initiatives."

Notes to editors

For more information on the Impact Partnership Fund and to apply, please visit:


Sport Unites is a £8.8m fund, £3m of which is ring-fenced specifically to benefit young Londoners aged between 10-21 as part of the Mayor’s Young Londoners Fund. For more information about the Sport Unites programme, please visit:


The boroughs with the highest rates of Serious Youth Violence are Westminster, Haringey, Southwark, Lambeth, Islington, Tower Hamlets, Camden, and Hackney. This is based on the number of victims per 1,000 young people aged under 25 in the Borough. When, the level of victimisation was considered (the total number of offences), the boroughs with the highest number of victims were: Westminster, Southwark, Tower Hamlets, Haringey, Enfield, Lambeth, Croydon, and Brent. Some Boroughs such as Camden and Hackney have high rates because of the active night-time economy, whereas others such as Brent have a high number of offences but lower rates because of they have a larger population than others.


The Sport & Serious Youth Violence Steering Group is chaired by Debbie Weekes-Bernard, Deputy Mayor for Social Integration, Social Mobility and Community Engagement, and features the organisations:


  • ARCA Generation
  • Charlton Athletic Community Trust
  • Ebony Horse Club
  • Football Beyond Borders
  • Get Hooked on Fishing
  • IRIE! dance theatre
  • Islington Somali Community
  • QPR in the Community Trust
  • School of Hard Knocks
  • SkyWay Charity
  • Snow-Camp
  • Southside Young Leaders' Academy
  • StreetGames
  • The AHOY Centre
  • The Access to Sports Project
  • The Change Foundation
  • Chance to Shine
  • Fight for Peace
  • Arsenal F.C.
  • Crystal Palace F.C.

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