Image credit to: Lloyd Jeans

In the wake of the youth murders that have happened in Forest Gate, a community meeting organised by local residents took place on May the 14th at Durning Hall. The aim of the event was to enable local people to come together to share, listen and think about how we support our young people. We had an overwhelming response from the community as hundreds attended the event including newly elected Newham Mayor, Rokhsana Fiaz. She stated that she will actively discuss with young people about how we can collectively tackle this issue.

Michelle Edwards from Newham council’s youth offending service said that youth violence “could affect any young person” illustrating how all-young people are susceptible to harm; be it psychological or physical. It further reinforces how we should think about long-term solutions to benefit young people and the wider community.

We also heard from two of the young people who attend our Youth4Youth leadership program. Sean delivered a powerful speech stating that “as a young person growing up in Newham I have seen the direct consequence of crime on young people…I have seen young people in my school get excluded because they have brought in knives or knuckle dusters to school…I say no more, we shouldn’t have to put up with this.” His words resonate with many young people living in Newham, and the case he mentions is certainly not one that is isolated.

Being solution-focused, residents came up with a number of methods that can be used to tackle youth crime and violence; they plan to regularly meet to further push and implement this plan.