The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson MP, today launched London’s first city-wide programme to help vulnerable young people to turn their backs on gangs and transform their lives, with specialised one to one mentoring and support.
Only Connect is proud to be a key delivery partner of London Gang Exit. From today, under the new £1.5m programme, any young Londoner identified as either a gang member or vulnerable to being exploited or recruited by gangs could be referred to receive intensive specialist support from trained mentors.
Almost half of young Londoners in a recent survey said gangs, or groups of people hanging around, is what makes them feel the most unsafe in the city, with 11% of those questioned saying they feel under pressure to join a gang. This comprehensive new approach will offer young people a path out of these gang networks, while driving down crime and victimisation in the capital.
Temi Lateef, our Frontline Co-ordinator who experienced gang culture growing up and was featured on BBC London and London Live, said:
‘For many of the young people growing up in London, gangs offer networks and an opportunity to earn money. It’s important that any services working with these young people offer a positive alternative; a supportive community and pathways to legitimate employment. Only Connect helped me to become a success, and now the London Gang Exit service will help young people all over our city build positive futures for themselves.’
On visiting our King’s Cross centre and meeting Temi, Deputy Mayor for Policing and Crime Stephen Greenhalgh said:
‘Gang crime is falling, but we know that stopping it completely is about more than just policing – we also need to help those who want to exit gangs and leave violence behind. We want to see this kind of support available across the whole of London, and this new programme provides a consistent service to every corner of the capital for the first time. By working in partnership, we can give the right support to young Londoners whatever their need, helping them away from crime and towards a better, brighter future.’
The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson MP said:
“I want every young Londoner to be able to feel safe on our city’s streets, and since 2012, we’ve made huge progress in driving down gang crime. But there is still more to be done and this new London-wide service will give young people involved in or at risk from gangs the chance to turn their backs on violence and crime and transform their lives.”
The new scheme is fully funded until October 2017, with £1 million from the Mayor’s Office for Policing And Crime (MOPAC) and £500,000 from the London Community Rehabilitation Company. It is the first programme of its kind to operate across the entire city, and is being delivered through Safer London and a range of specialist organisations including Only Connect to offer a comprehensive range of specialist channels appropriate to each individual’s needs. Around 300 young people aged 16-24 will be able to access the programme each year.
You can read the full press release from the Mayor of London’s office here.
To find out more about the programme visit our London Gang Exit service page.