Last week, the Minister for Policing Nick Hurd MP visited us in Canning Town. The minister met with a range of Community Links staff, youth workers and young people from the local area to talk about youth violence and hear about the work Community Links is doing to support the community.
The visit was covered by David Cohen from The Evening Standard as part of his ongoing series of features on serious violence in London. Through his work, David has become increasingly interested in a public health approach to tackling youth violence, such as the Violence Reduction Unit model deployed successfully in Glasgow over the past decade.
During his visit, Nick Hurd took part in a discussion with young people from the local area to find out what some of the contributing factors to serious violence in east London are. He heard from youth workers on our More than Mentors and Talent Match programmes who support young people through mentoring and advice. These activities demonstrate the importance of Deep Value relationships and Early Action for preventing young people taking the wrong path. Our CEO Arvinda Gohil and Board Chair Steve Wyler also took part to highlight the work Community Links is doing to gather community-led proposals for reducing youth violence.
The minister listened carefully to feedback and proposals from the group and engaged closely in the discussion. Since his visit, the Home Office has announced that it will be doubling its investment in the Early Intervention Youth Fund to £22m.
During the visit, we emphasised the need for the government to engage closely with the third sector in order to bridge the gap between the state and the community, and for all sectors to start working more closely together on a new approach. We also encouraged the government to enable third sector organisations like Community Links to tackle youth violence. While we are pleased the Early Intervention Youth Fund has been doubled to £22m, it is also about doing things differently and more collaboratively.
This year we’ve seen a substantial spike in youth violence across the capital and beyond. Community Links has been touched by several of these incidents, including one which saw a young volunteer sadly lose her life. This has spurred the team on to support the community by hosting a series of Community Conversations in Newham to gather community-led proposals for tackling youth violence. Over the past month, we have hosted four of these conversations in Newham and have gathered feedback from over 150 people. From these events, the team at Community Links will be pulling together a report, drawing out key ideas and assessing what impact they could have in Newham and beyond.
We are continuing to host the Community Conversations over summer and will be presenting our findings after the events are complete. Follow us on Twitter for further updates on upcoming events.