Kickoff@3 are doing it again, using their brand to support great causes in the community. www.kickoffat3.com
Stephen’s story is both challenging and inspirational. He was a normal young person who made the most of everyday opportunities. Although his life was short, Stephen provides a positive role model of a life well lived.
Stephen Lawrence was born and grew up in south-east London, where he lived with his parents Neville and Doreen, his brother Stuart and sister Georgina.
Like most young people, he juggled an active social life, school work, family commitments, and part-time employment. But he also had ambitions to use his talent for maths, art, and design to become an architect, and wanted to have a positive impact on his community.
Tragically, his dream of becoming an architect was never realised. On 22 April 1993, at the age of just 18, Stephen was murdered in an unprovoked racist attack. He didn’t know his killers and his killers didn’t know him.
After the initial police investigation, five suspects were arrested but not convicted. A public inquiry into the handling of Stephen’s case was held in 1998, leading to the publication of the Macpherson Report, which has been called ‘one of the most important moments in the modern history of criminal justice in Britain’.
It led to profound cultural changes in attitudes to racism, to the law and to police practice. It also paved the way for a greater understanding of discrimination of all forms and new equalities legislation.
About the song:
I was asked by michael at Kickoff@3 to participate in stephen lawrence day by making a song that would honour him (stephen lawrence) and bring light to the dark situation.
When Michael had asked me if I would like to make a song I didn’t have much knowledge on the tragic death at all, but I am never afraid to learn something new, so that’s what I did. I acquired knowledge and straight away got to making the beat and the lyrics in dedication to Stephen’s mother Doreen.
Sammy currently works part time in a barber shop located in St. Albans as an apprentice which he is really enjoying however music is his passion!
Helping Children and Young People to Make Sense of Distressing News
As a global community, we have faced a turbulent few years, ruled chiefly by the COVID-19 pandemic and the restrictions it brought. Now as we enter Spring 2022, the recent Russian invasion of Ukraine has taken over media attention and national concern. We live in a time of constant news streams and updates. It’s hard not to be filled with uncertainty and heartache every time you switch on the television or look at your phone. While we are all struggling to cope with the news, it is especially concerning for children and young people.
To help you guide those in your care through this uncertain time, our online safety experts have created this support for parents, carers, teachers, and safeguarding professionals. You’ll find a synopsis of important terms and questions, as well as our top tips for helping children and young people cope with distressing news.
What is the Russian invasion of Ukraine?
On February 24, 2022, Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered his military forces to begin an invasion of neighbouring country Ukraine. This is an escalation of the Russo-Ukrainian war that began in 2014 after a pro-Russian president of Ukraine was removed from office and Russian soldiers seized Crimea.
Since the invasion, there has been worldwide condemnation of Putin and his supporters. Protests have spread across the world (with protests in Russia resulting in arrest from police forces) as international support for Ukraine grows. Heavy sanctions(penalties to trade, sporting, and economic goods that are put in place by international leaders to try and pressure other leaders to a conduct agreement) have triggered a financial crisis in Russia, which has led Putin to put Russia’s nuclear forces on ‘high alert’ and has increased global fears of a nuclear war. Over 2 million Ukrainian citizens have fled their country. Thousands are suspected dead, with estimates expected to be higher. Many are trapped without access to necessities or medical aid. Recently, a maternity and children’s hospital was hit by a Russian airstrike resulting in multiple injuries and casualties.
Live reports are coming in every few minutes. Major news networks have constant news updates available for the public to see, despite difficulties in confirming news reports. However, the news is not the only avenue reports are appearing on. Social media is full of harrowing imagery and stories to encourage global support of Ukraine. While this is done to raise awareness of the atrocities happening in Ukraine, some of this content is extremely distressing. It’s worth nothing that if a child or young person engages with these posts on social media, the algorithms in place on these platforms will show them more.
How children react to distressing world events
While the recent news is upsetting and worrying for everyone, it is not the first disruptive event to affect the children and young people in your care. They have spent over two years adapting to a pandemic. They have endured lockdowns being isolated from their friends and family. They may even have lost loved ones during this time. Experts have warned that these events alone would have a significant impact on the mental wellbeing of children and young people going forward. If someone in your care is struggling, they might be:
Fixated, spending more time on phones or tablets to stay ‘up to date’.
Anxious, especially about future plans or dreams.
Irritable, over-reacting to minor inconveniences or issues.
Withdrawn, not engaging with their friends, school, or extracurriculars.
Distracted, with disruptions to regular eating, sleeping, or personal hygiene habits.
Obsessive, thinking over every circumstance and talking about possible outcomes.
Pessimistic, sharing a more negative or hopeless outlook on life.
Why is it important to talk to children and young people about what’s happening?
Children and young people are naturally curious. They want to know about what is going on in the world as much as they want to know the latest TikTok trend. Even if you try to limit the content they consume, they will inevitably hear about big world events from various outlets, such as television, social media, friends, family, and school environments. They might even overhear something from one of your conversations! If it’s what everyone is talking about, their interest in the topic increases.
This wide variety of sources makes it difficult to validate information and know what content the young person in your care is viewing. If you don’t acknowledge any questions or concerns they may have, they could ‘fill in the gaps’ with the wrong information. This might cause further anxiety, ignorance, or worrisome behaviour. Educating those in your care yourself is important to assure they know how to process news reports on their own with critical thinking and media literacy skills.
Some children may be curious, but not worried. Others may be uninterested in what is happening. Whether your child asks you about it or you bring it into conversation, remember to stay calm, listen to them, and reassure them that you are there if they need support or further guidance.
Top Tips for how to talk to children and young people about war
Every child is different. Their ability to process information will depend on their age, character, and resilience. As their guardian, you have to decide how much you share. You will know them best, but assessing their abilities can help you choose the level of information you share with them. For example, if you are a parent or carer of a young child who is prone to anxiety, start off with simple statements about the event while continually reassuring your child that they are safe and you are here for them. It’s important to:
Acknowledge their concerns. Don’t deny what is happening or negate their worries by telling them it will ‘all blow over soon’. Instead, tell them their concern is completely understandable and that you want to discuss it with them.
Be honest. While it is up to you as their guardian to protect them, it’s important that you refrain from lying in your responses or ignoring any questions or thoughts your child has. It’s okay if you don’t know the answer. This allows you to open up a discussion with your child. You could even suggest seeking the answer together!
Ask them how they are getting their news. Having a discussion around trustworthy news sources and how difficult it is to confirm things during times of conflict might be helpful. Holding yourself to this standard is important as well! Be mindful of any news playing in your house and how you are conducting your own conversations.
Validate their feelings. It is likely these emotions are complex and confusing for them to deal with. Remind them that, in this situation, feelings like this are normal.
Listen to them. No matter how worried or anxious you are, they will look to you for reassurance. Set your feelings aside and give the young person in your care the attention and space they need to feel heard.
Encourage them to limit their news intake. If they feel they are unable to look away from their phone or if they see something upsetting on their tablet, suggest they switch it off. If this isn’t realistic, advise them to only check news sources 1-2 times per day.
Discuss what you are grateful for as a family. This could be around the dinner table or during morning drives to school. If a young person in your care seems to struggle with guilt, remind them that they have nothing to feel guilty about – just things to be thankful for! Suggest researching places that are taking in donations to bring to refugees or other ways to help the crisis in a local capacity.
Use your words and actions to support them.Your reactions to their reactions are key to helping those in your care feel protected and loved. Tell your child you love them. Give them hugs or hold their hand. Allow them space when they need it, but remind them that you are here for them.
We know it can be difficult to decide what to share and how to respond. Remember – it’s important to remain calm, open, and honest with those in your care regardless of their age. Below, you’ll find some examples of questions you may receive about the recent Russian invasion of Ukraine. Our online safety experts have crafted some examples of appropriate answers to help you frame what you would like to say.
‘I found out my son was dealing drugs, with my middle class mum friends buying cocaine off boys just like him’
The boy bringing cocaine to the door of Lucy’s* friend looked really young.
“Thanks for your business,” he’d said as drugs and money were exchanged.
It was painful for her to witness.
Not long before she’d discovered her own son had been selling drugs, couriering them to addresses just like this child.
He’d been terrified, trapped in dangerous and illegal work by the older boys who’d recruited him.
“Seeing how young he was and knowing what my son had been through I was making the link between the two,” she told MyLondon.
“My friend’s children are much younger. She’d not made the connection that this young guy here was her son in just a few years’ time.”
Upset, Lucy challenged her friend about funding such an operation, highlighting the boy’s age. But her friend batted it away.
“They’re all really young,” she had replied.
Later that same day, Lucy encountered another acquaintance who was going through some personal turmoil and had been up all night.
“I’m dying for some coke,” she told her in between showing adorable pictures of her children to the other women there.
These events took place, not in a deprived area where drug users are a visible presence, but in a wealthy neighbourhood in West London with clean streets and expensive houses.
The women Lucy described as taking cocaine regularly are part of respectable circles of middle-aged professionals, who blend easily into London’s upmarket coffee shops and artisan bakeries.
They are also a group who totally disconnects their drug use from the trade which is destroying poorer areas of the city and fuelling violence across the capital.
This is the story of how one family was caught in the middle of a West London drugs line with eyes on both the exploited and the customers they serve.
How it started
Lucy’s son was 14 when she noticed he started to change.
“He had eyes like saucers,” she said. “He was aggressive, going out late and not letting me know where he was going. At one point he punched a hole in his bedroom wall.”
There was a lot going on in the family’s life at that time and he was a teenager she reasoned it would be understandable for him to be acting out.
She knew he had been scared of gang activity in the area for while, he was acutely aware of the evidence of the violence it provoked.
“He was constantly worried about blood on the streets and I’m not using that as a metaphor, literally blood on the streets.
“As we’d be walking you’d see blood and say ‘oh, there was a stabbing last night.’”
The multiple forms of modern communication Lucy’s son used to talk with his friends meant he often had details about the crime before they were public too.
“They’ve all got their WhatsApp and TikTok groups and they’re sharing information among themselves,” she added. “They know which gang was involved, who got attacked and if someone’s been arrested.
“So they were hearing the news from their peer group before it even got into the papers.”
The fear was so great there were times that he didn’t want to go to places alone. When that suddenly stopped and he was meeting with friends, there was no reason to think anything was amiss.
One of the first clear signs that her son was getting mixed up in something darker was when he began bringing boys to his house that he seemed to be afraid of.
“I kind of keep an open house,” she continued. “My kids can always bring their friends back. But these boys that he was bringing weren’t like his usual friends.
“They were really monosyllabic and they just brought out an atmosphere with them into the house.
“They’d crash out in the living room and I’d come down in the morning and say isn’t it time they went home, my son would be kind of reluctant to speak to them or ask them to go.”
The boys would smoke inside and generally acted like they owned the place, when it came to Lucy having to kick them out even she felt intimidated.
Another strange thing she noticed was that people would appear outside the house late at night, her son would rush out and hand them something, before going back inside.
When she challenged him about it he said it was just a friend dropping something off.
Then there was the money.
“He suddenly had stack-loads of money,” she continued. “I mean, a 14-year-old kid with £50 notes? That wasn’t pocket money.”
Lucy’s suspicions were confirmed when her partner at the time overheard her son talking with a friend about taking and dealing drugs.
When she confronted him about it the façade he’d been maintaining for months collapsed.
“He went from being kind of a cocky 14-year-old saying ‘you don’t know what you’re talking about mum’ to actually really breaking down, sobbing and saying how he was really scared,” she said.
“When you’re 14 or 15, you’re kind of very grown-up and, at the same time, you’re still a child. He desperately wanted to be tough, but he desperately wanted help.”
Once the silence had been broken Lucy’s son was then able to explain how he’d ended up becoming involved.
Like so many others it started with him being the victim of crime.
How it happened
He was first targeted playing football with friends one evening after school.
“He’d been approached by older boys and they threatened him,” she explained. “He got his phone got stolen at knifepoint and then he was really scared.
“He was frightened to report it to the police, although we eventually did. He then became very scared of gangs.”
Lucy’s son was so afraid he believed he must join one otherwise he wouldn’t be protected.
The frightening thing was that the gateway to that involvement was not necessarily through the strangers that threatened him, it was via longstanding friendships with people she’d known since they were little.
“His friends had started to get involved and friends from his childhood,” she added. “It became almost like the normal thing to do, for him and that age group. And it was cool.”
Although it was better her son had come clean about what was going on, it didn’t make the reality of the situation any less terrifying for Lucy.
The thought of trying to get her son out made her worry about the safety of the whole family.
“We were scared,” she said. “Our house was suddenly potentially on the radar for a whole load of really dodgy people. My other children were also being put at risk.”
So like most people would in this situation, Lucy turned to the authorities for help.
She reached out to a police officer acquaintance because she knew the idea of going directly to the force was terrifying for her son.
But the response she got disturbed her.
“Well, the police will already know,” he told Lucy. “They’ll already know everything about it and have his photo on the wall if he’s involved in cycling around making drops.”
The idea that the police were aware of children acting as couriers for drug dealers and not acting to help was horrifying. But Lucy was somehow not surprised.
“I don’t think anyone in London can deny there’s a bit of a problem with police,” she added with a sigh.
Eventually, she sent her son away to live in a different place altogether, because there was no way out by staying in London.
MyLondon has contacted the Metropolitan Police about its approach to tackling teenage drug dealing and was awaiting a response at the time of publication.
But child dealers were not the only set of drug sellers not being stopped.
Her son’s case has made her more conscious of another group who are able to act with relative impunity because they are middle-aged well-dressed women who no one suspects are selling narcotics.
‘A cocaine-fuelled 50th’
When a friend asked if she could have a 50th birthday at her house Lucy thought nothing of it.
She’d had her own party not that long before and it had been a lot of fun, boozy, but hardly debauched.
On the surface the people who came all held respectable careers. But she soon discovered what bound the middle-aged group together was something more illicit.
“One woman was a marketing director, there were bankers, plumbers, builders and teachers,” she explained. “But the thing that seemed to unite most of them, the real hardcore group, was cocaine.”
Lucy felt naïve to have allowed her to have a party at her house, she eventually ended up shutting things down and kicking them out.
It was the next day she made a disturbing discovery.
“I found a bag which had just a roll of cash in it,” she said. “So I texted her immediately and said, ‘I don’t know whose money it is or what it’s doing here, but it’s nothing to do with me.’
“I just wanted to distance myself, but when you’re in a situation like that what do you do? Call the police? And then they come to my house.”
After that incident, Lucy completely cut off contact with the woman in question.
When she asked why she didn’t want to see her anymore, she told her straight.
“I’m not a dealer, how insulting,” the woman replied.
“You’re selling drugs, that’s dealing that’s what it’s called,” Lucy repeated, but the woman was convinced the term didn’t apply to her.
‘Do you want any class As?’
It was after another party with so-called respectable professionals that Lucy was offered drugs.
“In the summer I went to a party,” she continued.
“It was a bunch of women, academics and journalists and who’ve known each other for years, a lot of us were at university together and we’re all mums.”
Another old friend turned up who she began to suspect might have been under the influence of something stronger than alcohol.
“She didn’t offer anything around that night, but you had a sense that she was [on something],” she said.
“Then two days later, she rang me up and asked me if I wanted any class As.”
“She is a tiny little blonde women who is beautifully dressed and no one would suspect is selling.”
‘Please don’t offer my kids hash’
Lucy pointed out that there is a misconception that as people enter middle age their behaviour suddenly snaps into a conventional stereotype.
Generation X might be in their 40s and 50s, but that doesn’t mean that they’ve cut out the drugs they were doing in the 1990s and 2000s.
If anything they have more funds than they did in their youth to buy drugs that were previously out of their price range.
“People who got into it, quite a lot of them haven’t stopped,” she continued.
“A lot did it in their youth and they’ve continued to take drugs.”
She wonders how they would respond to dealing with the situation she has with her son.
“What do you do if your kids then start selling? Or if your kids start using, if you’re using?” she wondered.
Some parents even go further, attempting to share their drug habits with their children directly.
Lucy has even had to tell friends directly not to offer her children cannabis.
“There’s a line between being a parent and being a cool hipster,” she added.
“You’ve got to grow up when you’re a parent, you can’t be doing all of that stuff. You’ve got to stop.”
‘The perfect customers’
A former drug dealer who MyLondon spoke to for this story said the clientele Lucy’s son and his friends were serving were the “ideal customers”.
“Everyone wants to get them,” they said. “Because no one suspects that they’ll be using drugs.
“I used to have a guy who ran a media company, he’d turn up in a nice car and always bought large amounts of cocaine for a lot of money.
“Coke is a rich person’s drug, it’s easy to deal with the people buying it because they don’t bring the heat on you, they don’t have a criminal record and won’t be being followed by police.”
They explained that the interactions between buyer and dealer were far easier to hide compared to stereotypical users.
“If the police were to come by when you were selling to them they wouldn’t think anything of it,” they added.
“But when you’re dealing with scraggily-looking crackheads and you’re a person of colour it’s very obvious what’s going on.
“The police will also follow those types of users to see where they are going and who they are buying from.”
He added that wealthy cocaine users were particularly common in West London and the dealers serving them often had lots more money than sellers in other parts of the city.
Middle-class drug users were the target of a double-pronged attack by Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Home Secretary Priti Patel in October.
First Patel announced that the government planned new measures that targeted so-called ‘lifestyle’ users whose numbers were found on dealers’ phones.
“We [will] bring down the harshest possible legal sanctions and consequences for these drug users,” the Home Secretary said.
“Including criminal sanctions, fines, curfews, compulsory drug awareness courses and the removal of their passports.”
This was followed up by the Prime Minister specifically linking the violence in urban areas to the drugs trade which serves more affluent parts of the country.
“We are looking at doing things to tackle those so-called lifestyle drug users who don’t think they are part of the problem. In the end, all the demand is helping to create the problem,” he said at a speech in Liverpool.
Currently, the plans laid out by Patel and Johnson suggest that they will be able to target these users when seizing phones owned by dealers.
The problem is that relies on the luck of landing a device filled with such contacts or incriminating material.
As most people in the trade know, a canny dealer will continue to change numbers and drug lines operate using multiple handsets.
A ‘West London county line’
Wealthy West London users might not have to beg, hustle or steal for their next fix, but that doesn’t mean they are not as wedded in the criminal networks that supply their drugs.
If anything their money makes the machine even better equipped to elude the authorities and further up the chain fill the pockets of organised crime.
It took Lucy aback just how easily her friend was able to summon a teenage drug dealer with cocaine to her door.
“It was like Deliveroo,” Lucy said. “It was as easy as ordering an Uber Eats.”
The process worked the same as a ‘county line,’ using the right code words, her friend navigated her way through several phone calls, dialling one and being be redirected to another until eventually the order was placed.
It’s a method associated with the trade in rural locations, but rather than serving a rural location, this ‘city line’ for rich people in west London.
For Lucy, the knowledge of how any of this worked showed a connection between her friend and the criminal network that was more than “casual”.
“If you actually have the number and you have the code word, next to your Pizza Express delivery, That’s quite a level of being involved,” she added.https://get-latest.convrse.media/?url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.mylondon.news%2Fnews%2Fwest-london-news%2Fi-found-out-son-dealing-22885910%3Futm_source%3Dtwitter.com%26utm_medium%3Dsocial%26utm_campaign%3Dsharebar%26s%3D09&cre=bottom&cip=140&view=web
There might be superficial differences between the ‘scraggily crackhead’ and the wealthy user.
But the only real one that matters is that at the moment the middle-class drug taker gets away with it.
City Hall is funding hundreds of positive activities to support thousands of young Londoners during the holidays and beyond
London’s Violence Reduction Unit, the first of its kind in the country, is investing £3m specifically to support communities and provide a mentoring package for young people through this summer and into new school term
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has today set out a comprehensive package of measures to support communities by funding hundreds of positive activities and opportunities for young Londoners in the capital this summer.
With fears of a surge in youth violence, as restrictions are lifted across the city and schools break up for the summer holidays, Sadiq is determined to tackle violence and ensure young Londoners continue to be supported with a range of positive opportunities so they can gain confidence, have fun and stay safe.
London’s Violence Reduction Unit (VRU), England’s first and set up by the Mayor, is investing £800,000 to mentor young people in Pupil Referral Units, both during the summer and into the new academic year. A further £1m of funding, through the London Community Response Fund, will deliver a programme of mentoring and support activities for 4,000 young people.
Alongside this, the London VRU has launched the Stronger Futures Programme – a targeted programme aimed at funding community-led groups across London with £1.2m of investment to support vulnerable young Londoners by providing them with opportunities and support in the hours following school and at weekends. The programme will begin next month.
The Mayor is committed to driving down violence in the capital by continuing to be both tough on crime and tough on the causes of crime. This includes supporting more than 300 projects with £70m of funding from City Hall. Overall, this work is creating positive opportunities for more than 110,000 disadvantaged young Londoners.
This summer the Mayor’s investment will provide activities for around 5,000 young people – from dance, theatre and music, to basketball, angling and horse-riding. Londoners can find activities on City Hall’s interactive Our London Map by searching for their borough or by activity. Much of this investment is targeted in the wards at higher risk of violence, and with higher levels of poverty and deprivation.
The Mayor has worked closely with the Met Police, communities and criminal justice partners to put together a comprehensive plan in place to improve the safety of young people in the capital this summer. This includes targeted enforcement of violent offenders, combined with support to help divert people away from crime and a programme to provide positive opportunities for young Londoners.
Today, Apple is launching a free summer programme centred around music and radio production for young Londoners lacking in opportunity in communities underrepresented in the industry. Apple Creative Studios London, delivered in partnership with City Hall, aims to enable young Londoners to “unlock their creativity” within their communities. Throughout a four-week period, the full-time programme will offer hands-on experience in professional studio settings and mentorship from renowned artists in the radio and music industries.
This latest programme builds on the Mayor’s partnership with Apple to help young people gain the skills they need to get the jobs of tomorrow, while also ensuring they have something constructive and safe to do during the summer holidays.2
The Mayor today visited the Dream, Believe, Succeed project, delivered by Edmonton Community Partnership with funding through London’s VRU. The partnership is an alliance of 19 schools, community organisations and local young people. It provides prevention and intervention programmes to children and young people between 10 and 16 who are either at risk or involved in violence.
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said:
“I’m determined to tackle violence in London by continuing to be both tough on violent crime and tough on the root causes of violent crime. There will be an increased police presence this summer in the areas of London worst affected by violence, but we know we will never simply be able to arrest our way out of the problem. That’s why, working with communities across our city, we’ve created thousands of new positive opportunities for young people so they have somewhere safe to go this summer, where they can make the most of their talents.
“With lockdown restrictions now lifted and schools breaking up for the holidays, it’s more important than ever that we work together to ensure we don’t see a rise in violence over the summer months. This means supporting our young people, diverting them away from crime and giving them opportunities to thrive.
“City Hall and London’s Violence Reduction Unit, the first of its kind in the country, is investing in hundreds of programmes – from mentoring and support for families, to sport, music and performing arts. Our city is brimming with opportunities for young Londoners this summer and beyond and I would encourage people to get involved.”
Lib Peck, Director of London’s Violence Reduction Unit, said:
“London’s Violence Reduction is committed to putting young people at the heart of everything we do. Our focus is on supporting families and communities to make them more resilient and to provide positive opportunities to help young Londoners build confidence and to thrive.
“We know the importance of role models to young people and that’s why we’re investing in mentoring to provide support both in school, after school and during the summer holidays. I’m also pleased that we have launched a new targeted programme to provide support for young Londoners that are vulnerable to violence with series of opportunities and support in the hours following school and at weekends.
“We firmly believe that violence is preventable and not inevitable, and the VRU will continue to place our focus and investment in working with communities and being a voice and a champion for young people in London.”
Rosemary Watt-Wyness, CEO of London Youth said:
“Youth clubs and positive opportunities have never been so vital for young Londoners. Having somewhere they can go this summer, where they feel safe, can learn new skills, in a youth organisation based in their local community, supported by youth workers they know and trust is critical for young people’s physical and mental wellbeing. Our member clubs have worked tirelessly over the past 18 months to keep their doors open to the city’s most vulnerable young people whilst operating within the changing guidance, providing support online where face to face activities were not possible. Keeping those supportive relationships ongoing has been a lifeline for so many.”
Trevor Blackman, Lead Partnership Manager for the Edmonton Community Partnership, said:
“With the funding from London’s Violence Reduction Unit, we’ve created a complete wrap-around service to support young people. Everything is connected. From the parents, the schools, our mentors and community and council partnerships, young people have been provided with much-needed support.
“This isn’t about ‘sitting them down and talking to them’. This is about fun activities that they engage with. It’s about having the opportunity to not fall into violent crime.
“It’s about feeling that you belong and have the support to do what’s right. Only by working in partnership, including leadership from our partnership of 19 schools, can we make this happen. Our Dream Believe and Succeed Project is providing real engagement and real support and creating something that’s really effective during and out of school time, including the summer holidays.”
Thom Palser, Spotlight Service Manager at Poplar HARCA said:
“Thanks to City Hall funding, Spotlight, in Tower Hamlets, will be focussing our free summer programme of activities around self-care and wellbeing following a difficult year for young Londoners. Programmes have been designed to provide young people opportunities to improve their well-being and happiness through acts of self-love and kindness. Sessions include dance, theatre, music, sports and fitness, inspirational talks and meditation as well as offering ongoing youth support, counselling and mentoring in a safe environment.
“Spotlight is also pleased to partner with Apple and Reprezent to deliver the Creative Studios LDN programme, giving young artists the opportunity to write and produce their own track under the guidance of top industry professionals and artists. Plus we will be supporting the artists to release their tracks and perform live on Reprezent radio. To find out more please visit wearespotlight.com.”
Notes to editors
1 You can use the Our London Map to find activities for children and young people in London and can search by postcode, town, borough, and activity.
2 The programme starts during the school holidays and partners with youth-led radio station Reprezent 107.3FM in Brixton for those aged between 18-24 and Spotlight, a creative arts youth service based in Tower Hamlets, for those aged 16-25. The programme will provide career-building mentorship, access to creative resources and professional industry skills training.
3 The Stronger Futures Programme will enable community-led groups to support vulnerable young Londoners by providing them with opportunities and support in the hours following school, as well as at weekends in some cases. It will invest £1.2m in 20 projects across London. Grants of between £50,000 and £100,000 will be awarded, with an anticipated average size of c.£65,000 to be fully spent by August 2022. This funding is designed specifically for groups and organisations in London which can demonstrate a track record of working with vulnerable young people who are either at risk or have been involved in violence. Stronger Futures Programme 2021/22 ⋆ rocketsciencelab.co.uk
City Hall publishes its most detailed analysis yet which lays bare the extent of the link between violence and poverty, deprivation and unemployment
Latest figures show that the overall number of knife crime victims under 25 is down, with youth violence, knife crime and gun crime also falling
Evidence shows the pandemic has exacerbated the factors that put young people at risk of being affected by violence
Sadiq sets out his commitment to provide positive opportunities for young Londoners and to give them hope for a brighter future
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has today announced his commitment to support almost 100,000 more young Londoners over the next year, investing in opportunities to help them thrive and to help divert them away from violence.
Today, Sadiq has published new City Hall analysis that reveals the complex factors at play in people’s lives, homes and communities that can alter the likelihood of someone taking the wrong path and getting caught up in violence. This includes deep-rooted and ingrained social and economic issues such as poverty, inequality, high unemployment, school exclusions, poor mental health and a lack of youth services.
The new research City Hall released today shows that all 10 of the boroughs with the highest rates of victims of serious violence have higher rates of child poverty than the London average.
The analysis also shines a light on how violence is having a disproportionate impact on young Black Londoners who are significantly overrepresented, both as victims and offenders. For instance, Black teenage boys are six times more likely to be killed by violence than white boys in London.
Delivering a major speech at The Black Prince Community Trust in Lambeth, the Mayor will highlight the worrying impact the pandemic has had on young Londoners.
Research has demonstrated the link between high rates of unemployment and levels of violence, and City Hall analysis reveals the pandemic has exacerbated the factors that put young people at risk of becoming involved in, or a victim of, violence, by pushing more young Londoners into unemployment and poverty. For example, Universal Credit claims have risen by nearly 130 per cent – with the highest increases in the top five boroughs for rates of serious youth violence.
London also has the highest rate of youth unemployment in the country as the city has been hit particularly hard by the pandemic and the huge impact on the sectors such as hospitality.
More than a fifth of those aged 16-24 are currently unemployed, an increase of two per cent since 2019.  Six of 10 boroughs with the highest increases in unemployment are also in the top 10 boroughs for serious violence.  This is just one of the reasons that the Mayor was clear that a top priority for his second term in office would be ‘jobs, jobs, jobs’ for Londoners. Through the Mayor’s schemes he is offering every Londoner who is unemployed or earning under the London living wage the chance to enrol on a course to retrain and help them find employment.
Reducing violence and making London safer is the Mayor’s number one priority. New analysis from City Hall shows that all types of serious violence experienced by young people have fallen over the last four years. Figures show that violence was falling in London before the pandemic, and over the past year knife crime, youth violence and gun crime have come down further. . The research shows that serious crimes such as knife crime resulting in injury is down 36 per cent and under-25 knife crime has reduced 48 per cent, compared to the peak in the twelve months to December 2017. But the Mayor is clear there is much more to do to stop young lives being lost to senseless violence, and to prevent violence from happening in the first place.
Speaking in south London today about the commitment to redouble efforts to reduce violence as London recovers from the pandemic, Sadiq will set out how he will continue to be both tough on crime and tough on the complex causes of crime. This means ensuring the police have the resources they need to bear down on criminality, gangs and the drugs market, as well as the importance of investing in positive opportunities for young Londoners to give them hope for the future.
The Mayor set up London’s Violence Reduction Unit (VRU) – the first in England – to deliver programmes that support young Londoners through education, training and help into employment. Sadiq will today announce that over the course of the next 12 months, City Hall and the VRU will be delivering a combined package of measures that will support almost 100,000 more young Londoners.
On his pledge to empower and invest in the future of young Londoners the Mayor is expected to say:
“Every death as a result of this needless violence is an utter tragedy. It leaves lives destroyed and families grieving, it tears communities apart, fuels fear and deprives our city of so much talent.
“The latest figures show that the overall number of knife crime victims under 25 is down by 39 per cent compared to 2019, and by 31 per cent compared to 2018. Overall, youth violence has been going down. Knife crime has been going down. And gun crime has been going down. The level of violence impacting young Londoners remains far too high and we clearly have a long way to go, but it’s important that we acknowledge signs of progress so that we can learn from what’s starting to work and build upon it.
“My main message today is not one of despair, rather a message of determination that we are redoubling our efforts to reduce violence as we recover from the pandemic.
“A crucial part of the solution is always going to be supporting the police to bear down relentlessly on criminality, which I will continue to do. But we must be both tough on crime and tough on the causes of crime. Because the truth is we know there’s a complex set of factors at play in people’s lives, homes and communities, which can alter the likelihood of someone taking the wrong path and getting involved in violence.
“The vast majority of young Black Londoners are not involved in violence in any way. But young Black Londoners are significantly more likely to be a victim or a perpetrator of serious violence. That’s because it’s not skin colour that determines your chances of being a victim or an offender, but societal and economic factors, such as the disproportionate rates of poverty, unemployment and school exclusions that affect Black lives.
“When I highlight these conditions associated with violence, I’m not excusing criminality in any way. But any sensible society understands that it’s in our own interest to remove the conditions that allow criminality to thrive. To provide positive opportunities for young Londoners who could otherwise be vulnerable to exploitation. To proactively tackle the structural barriers and racial inequality that Black Londoners face – from housing and poverty to education and the workplace. And to give young Londoners hope for a brighter future.
“Surely, we must all want young Londoners to feel like they have a stake in society, rather than feeling so hopeless that they’re willing to stake their lives for so little.
“I’m pleased to announce that next year – over the course of just 12 months – we’ll be stepping up our work with a package of measures that will support almost 100,000 more young Londoners.”
Notes to editors
The new analysis, published by the Greater London Authority’s City Intelligence Unit, looks at the driving factors behind young people becoming involved in or a victim of violence.
This reveals the link between violence and school exclusions, deprivation and poverty, including areas where people are most likely to struggle to access food. In addition, the research highlights the disproportionate impact violence is having on young Black Londoners.
Young Black Londoners are disproportionately represented amongst the victims of all types of serious violence – they are three times more likely than young White Londoners to be a victim of knife crime, and five times more likely to be a victim of homicide.
Rates of offending for the most serious violence, knife crime and homicide were highest for those aged 15-19
Under 25s knife crime (non-DA) down 48% compared to its peak in the twelve months to December 2017
Total knife crime resulting in injury was 36% lower than the peak recorded in twelve months to November 2017
Gun crime was 50% below the peak recorded in twelve months to July 2017
Lethal barrelled gun discharges were 52% lower than the peak recorded in the twelve months to December 2018
Burglary was 34% below the volume recorded in the peak period of twelve months to October 2019
Absence rates from secondary school were also a significant factor in predicting Boroughs with the highest rates of offending relating to serious violence 
London has the highest rate of youth unemployment in the country. More than a fifth of those aged 16-24 are currently unemployed, an increase of two per cent since 2019.  Six of 10 boroughs with the highest increases in unemployment are also in the top 10 boroughs for serious violence. 
During the pandemic, Universal Credit claims have increased by 186 per cent in Brent and 177 per cent in Newham – two of the top five boroughs for rates of offending.
54,000 young people aged 16-24 in London claimed unemployed-related benefits in October 2021 – 7.3 per cent of Londoners in that age group, up from 3.8 per cent in March 2020.
The number of food parcels given out by the Trussell Trust more than doubled in London in 2020/21 – higher than in any other part of the country. Seven of the boroughs with the largest increase were also in the top 10 for serious violence.
About 800,000 children are bullied each year – but research suggests schools can do something about it
Schools can effectively tackle bullying by teaching pupils skills such as anger management, conflict resolution and empathy, research has found.
The Early Intervention Foundation charity conducted a review of nearly 30 studies looking at bullying and antisocial behaviour.
It found that schools could explicitly teach skills to prevent the onset of behaviour problems and to reduce the likelihood that young people will engage in aggressive behaviour or bullying.
Getting children to practice certain positive traits helped to develop skills such as anger management, empathy, problem-solving, conflict resolution, communication and decision-making which meant they were less likely to be bullies.
The review also found that taking a “whole-school approach” to bullying – for example by creating a supportive school environment and raising awareness of mental health – is also effective in reducing aggressive behaviour.
Tackling bullying also had a number of other beneficial consequences for young people, including “improved psychological functioning, wellbeing and quality of life”, reductions in police contact and even reduced smoking, alcohol and drug use.
Schools meanwhile saw reduced participation in disciplinary procedures and less truancy.
Dr Jo Casebourne, the EIF’s chief executive, said: “Research shows bullying in the teenage years can lead to increased risk of suicide, getting in trouble with the police, anxiety disorders and a whole host of other negative outcomes.
“We know that both bully and the bullied can be adversely affected. The upside is we know that support in schools can be effective both for the bully and the victim.”
The research found that teachers were equally as effective as external professionals in delivering bullying prevention programmes.
However, teachers were less effective than technology experts when it came to providing cyberbullying prevention programmes.
In 2020, about 800,000 children in England reported that they were bullied in a given year, with 2.5 million children experiencing some form of bullying before the age of 18.
If a young person experiences bullying during their teenage years it increases their risk of having an adult mental health problem by more
Children and young people face losing thousands of pounds in earnings during their lifetime from the impact of the pandemic on lost learning, according to new research.
The figures are based on an analysis by the Education Policy Institute, which was commissioned by the Department for Education, which warns that ‘significant’ Government investment is needed to avoid lasting damage.
Based on an estimated range of learning loss, this would result in total lost lifetime earnings of between 1 and 3 per cent. In this scenario, the EPI calculated that this is likely to be at least £16,000 lost in earnings per pupil, but this could range from £8,000 to £46,000 per pupil, depending on the extent of learning loss.
These earnings losses would generate a total long-run cost of between £78bn and £463bn across the 10 million children in the education system in England. This range is likely to be a highly conservative estimate of the true long-run costs of lost learning, the thinktank states.
The Government has so far committed £3.1bn for education recovery, the EPI points out this it is a far lower proportion per pupil than that of other countries, such as the Netherlands and the United States.
The report recommends a £13.5bn fund, which is closer to the £15bn that was recommended by the Government’s own catch-up tsar Sir Kevan Collins, who resigned in the summer over the lack of Government support for his plans.
The researchers have calculated lost learning by region and pupil characteristics, and found that while pupils across the country were affected, those living in the north and the Midlands have suffered the most.
They found that, for example, in October 2020, in the first half of the autumn term, in primary maths, losses ranged from 2.0 months in the South West and 2.5 months in London, to 5.2 months in the North East and 5.8 months in Yorkshire and the Humber.
By the second half of the autumn term, average losses in maths for primary pupils had improved slightly, but were still 0.5 months in the South West and 0.9 months in London to 4.0 months in the North East and 5.3 months in Yorkshire and the Humber.
For disadvantaged pupils the gap was greater. By October 2020, average learning losses for disadvantaged pupils (those on free school meals) were 4.3 months in primary maths. By December 2020, average losses for disadvantaged pupils recovered to 3.3 months in primary maths.
How much should the Government spend on education recovery?
The Government has committed £3.1bn for education recovery in England between 2020-21 and 2024-25 – around £310 per pupil in total. In stark contrast, education catch-up plans for the Netherlands (£2,100 per pupil) and US (£1,800 per pupil) are far larger and more ambitious, the EPI said.
The report calculates that an education recovery funding package of around £13.5bn will be required by the Government.
How should funding be allocated?
For young children, the researchers’ fully-costed education recovery plans include an extra £400 million over three years for the Early Years Pupil Premium.
They also recommend funding a pilot study into the effect of higher quality early years education on young children at a cost of £83m.
The report said that funding should be allocated through a dedicated grant which provides funding to all schools, but progressively more to those in the most disadvantaged parts of the country and also by the proportion of pupils eligible for the Pupil Premium.
Other recovery interventions in the £13.5bn package should include, among other policies: an increase and extension of the Pupil Premium; extended school hours; a new continuous professional development fund for teachers: and a new 16-19 Student Premium.
Natalie Perera, chief executive of the EPI, said, ‘The Government’s existing education recovery plans have fallen well short of what the evidence says is required to support pupils – but it now has the opportunity to prioritise recovery in the forthcoming spending review.
‘Pupils in parts of the north of England and the Midlands are facing learning losses that are greater than those in other regions. Current education recovery support for young people, including the Government’s National Tutoring Programme, is yet to address these disparities – leaving the Prime Minister’s levelling up agenda under serious threat.
‘Without a bold education recovery funding settlement targeted at those pupils who need it most, any wider plans from the government to address longstanding regional inequalities are consigned to fail.’
Dr Jo Casebourne, chief executive, Early Intervention Foundation, said, ‘The report puts into perspective the shocking impact the pandemic has had on young people, especially in certain parts of the country and among more disadvantaged pupils. To ensure any programme of learning catch-up works we believe it needs to go hand-in-hand with a focus on mental health and wellbeing.
‘Past studies show the link between mental health at school age and exam results later. Without additional support for pupils’ mental health, improving attainment through tutoring and other measures, especially among those who’ve fallen furthest behind over the course of the pandemic, is unlikely to have the greatest effect.
‘It’s also very important that schools take every available opportunity to close the gap in educational outcomes between children from disadvantaged backgrounds and communities and their peers. We know that this gap has long-term impacts in terms of qualifications and employment and earnings, as the report highlights, and even aspects of physical and mental health into adulthood.’
Dr Mary Bousted, joint general secretary of the National Education Union, said, ‘The Government is still trying to do education recovery on the cheap. The EPI now estimates £13.5bn is needed over three years. The Government’s own recovery tsar Sir Kevan Collins proposed a package of £15bn and resigned when this was not accepted.
‘The scale of learning lost in the pandemic cannot be overcome by some short term, piecemeal measures such as catch-ups. Recovery will require years of work and investment. It is for the Government to meet that funding challenge in the Comprehensive Spending Review to make sure no child is left behind.’
A Department for Education spokesperson said, ‘We are significantly expanding the National Tutoring Programme this year, building on the progress from last year when more than 300,000 children benefited, and giving schools more flexibility to deliver tutoring that works for them and their families.
‘This investment in education recovery – of over £3 billion to date – comes on top of the £14.4bn this government is investing in schools in total over the three years up to 2022-23, helping young people leave school better educated, better skilled and ready for the world of work.’
As National Inclusion Week draws closer, we are gearing up back at Inclusive Employers to ensure we can celebrate, showcase and further influence our members’ inclusion journey. In true Inclusive Employers style we are here to help and are going to be sharing with you some of our consultants top tips for making the most of the week. Register now for National Inclusion Week 2021
A little bit of planning in advance of National Inclusion Week can really help to optimise the benefits of being involved in this national programme, as we commit to being #UnitedForInclusion and ensure that your whole organisation is engaged.
Like all initiatives and programmes we hope that National Inclusion Week will be an extension of your everyday commitment to inclusion and provide you with a catalyst for taking the next steps. Key to getting this right is ensuring the focus is not just on the week itself but upon how it can really add value and impact in your organisation. The recent horrific racism demonstrated after the Euro2021 final has shown us how far we still have to travel, we hope National Inclusion Week can help to solidify your commitment to an inclusive society where we are all #UnitedForInclusion.
So where do we start?….
1. Consider how Inclusion Week can support you to progress your inclusion objectives
Understanding where you are in your inclusion journey and your key inclusion and diversity focus moving forward how can you use the Inclusion Week 2021 theme, #UnitedForInclusion, to shine a light on these areas? We want to inspire you to see how the small actions of many can lead to much greater cultural change in your organisation.
2. Use our National Inclusion Week toolkit
Not sure where to start? Explore and utilise the Inclusive Employers Inclusion Week Daily Actions as a guide and inspiration for your own events. You will find an overview of the Daily Actions in the Toolkit resource ‘#UnitedForInclusion: A guide to the 2021 theme’. These actions can help you make some tangible commitments and don’t forget to include your staff networks or Inclusion advisory groups, there will be some brilliant ideas and inspiration you can draw upon.
3. Further your knowledge
Don’t forget to book your places on Inclusion Week events hosted by Inclusive Employers. There will be a series of events highlighting a range of inclusion topics, including events that relate to the Daily Actions. Most importantly, don’t forget to consider how you can share some of your learning and ideas throughout your organisation. You might want to consider webinars, physical events (where possible), online activities through your staff Intranet, newsletters and social media channels. Develop a communications plan so that everyone is kept up-to-date with your Inclusion Week activity and don’t forget to use the #UnitedForInclusion so we can share some of the great things going on throughout National Inclusion Week.
4. Ensure your National Inclusion Week activities are communicated outside of your organisation
A recent Forbes study Identified that 83% of employees say they’re engaged at work when they believe the organization fosters an inclusive culture. Make sure you celebrate your National Inclusion Week work to make your organisation stand out to prospective talent. Thousands of organisations will be uniting for National Inclusion Week 2021 and by communicating beyond our organisations we will collectively strengthen our commitment to be #UnitedForInclusion. You can use the Press Release Template in the Toolkit to support your external communications. Remember to use the campaign hashtags #UnitedForInclusion and #NationalInclusionWeek2021 and tag @InclusiveEmployers on LinkedIn and @IncEmp on Twitter.
And finally, if you haven’t registered yet for National Inclusion Week 2021 now is the time! Registering is free and it gives you full access to the NIW Toolkit, with plenty of tools and resources to support you to make the week a success, including further information on How to Prepare for National Inclusion Week.
We are all mothers whose sons were stabbed to death.
We know people find it hard to call and report information on knife crime, but when our sons were murdered, we had to make much harder calls.
We’re sharing stories of the sons we lost and the calls we had to make here, in our own words. We want to show what knife crime does to families, and ask people to help save other families from losing their son or daughter.
Support this amazing and sadly much needed campaign
He added: “We need to understand why people carry knives. We also have a job as police to prevent violence right now. The key role of policing is, at first, to stop the bleeding.
“While we need to understand the causes, right now we need deal with the acute issue of people, often young, carrying knives.The tragedy and irony is that it is a for a feeling of safety.
“The irony is that the data is incredibly strong that if you carry a knife, you are so much more likely to be a victim of a stabbing.
“You can just imagine, if you get into a fight and you’re not carrying a knife, it is going to end in one way, but probably not with someone being stabbed or being stabbed yourself, but if you are carrying a knife it is a totally different picture.
“The other one is the credibility and prestige, unfortunately. That is something we as society, communities and families need to consider around making it not credible to carry a knife.”
Operation Sceptre, which ran from April 26 to May 2, resulted in Met officers seizing more than 400 knives from the street, including machetes, rambo, lock and kitchen knives.
Anti-knife campaigners have also argued that police are “fighting a losing battle” and deadly knives are simply “too readily available” for young people.
In a bid to tackle the issue at source, officers aged between 18 and 25 have been carrying out test purchase operations to check if retailers are following the correct “Challenge 25” policy, with 71 out of 212 retailers selling the knife without seeing any ID.
Commander Murray say, though, that Met data suggests knife crime is falling in London.
May 10 marked a year since the formation of the Met’s Violence Suppression Units, groups made up of local officers who are solely based in their geographic area with the purpose of being alive to specific issues and building vital relationships. The proactive units identify and target the most serious offenders and tackle the key drivers of violence.
In their year of operation to date, they have seized made a total of 6,031 arrests for violent offences, including robbery GBH and murder.
More than 1,000 weapons have also been seized, including 81 firearms, and £1.5million in cash from criminality confiscated.
He adds: “You have to look at the amount of arrests we have made and the amount of knives recovered, coupled with the data. Data is one thing, and is doesn’t take away from the tragedy of people getting stabbed, but in the last 12 months we have 226 less people under the age of 25 stabbed than in the preceding 12 months – that is a 16 per cent reduction.
“There has been a 28 per cent reduction in overall knife crime compared to the 12 months previously. I don’t think it adds up that we are fighting a losing battle, but anyone getting stabbed is unacceptable.”https://get-latest.convrse.media/?url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.mylondon.news%2Fnews%2Fzone-1-news%2Fmet-police-insists-london-knife-20587837&cre=bottom&cip=28&view=web
Newham residents also told My London they were “scared to go out” and that the issue of knife crime was “constant and getting worse” following two fatal stabbing taking place just three days apart.
His message to such residents is that police will “never rest on our laurels” and violence continued to be “the number one priority” for officers.
Commander Murray rounds off with a simple message to Londoners.
If you do not want to listen to police, at least listen to the five mums who have taken part in the Hard Calls Save Lives campaign
The video shows the parents recalling the harrowing moment they found out their family members had become London’s latest victims of knife crime.
He concludes: “If you’re reading this and don’t know anyone that carries a knife, circulate the video and get people talking about it.”
Keep up to date with what is going on at Youth Unity
The contents of this website are copyrighted to Youth Unity CIC (c) any unauthorised use, disclosure, or copying is not permitted. Registered CIC Number 11843189
Privacy & Cookies Policy
Necessary cookies are absolutely essential for the website to function properly. This category only includes cookies that ensures basic functionalities and security features of the website. These cookies do not store any personal information.
Any cookies that may not be particularly necessary for the website to function and is used specifically to collect user personal data via analytics, ads, other embedded contents are termed as non-necessary cookies. It is mandatory to procure user consent prior to running these cookies on your website.