Sadly, we once again are seeing an increased risk of violence in our community – with incidents in recent weeks in both Brixton and Streatham that tragically included the loss of one young man’s life. For those of us working with local young people and their families we share their outrage that the day-to-day experience for some is that they are not safe and the frustration that despite investment in support, many still feel they are dealing with this on their own. More must be done to keep our young people safe.
The coronavirus pandemic sadly meant much of the work usually being done by the Council, Mayor of London and voluntary groups simply could legally not continue operating over the last year as services and facilities were locked down. Lambeth Council’s early intervention scheme shifted how it worked locally – with a big emphasis on one-to-one individual support where this was possible (working with over 100 young people and families in our area on a regular basis). As your Councillors, we have also spent much of the last year working directly with individuals and families who need help, many of whom have had the additional pressures of worry about the health of family and friends or changes in their work. As we now emerge from lockdown and COVID restrictions are being lifted, Lambeth Council has resumed work in bigger groups and is launching a summer programme (running from July till October) with 1000’s of hours of support, activities and on street prevention work available to help keep our young people safe.
Lambeth Council’s Lambeth Made Safer For Young People strategy is a long-term, public health approach that addresses violence experienced in our communities through early intervention, helping young people build their aspirations so they do not become limited due to the obstacles that they encounter in life. Here in Tulse Hill Ward, where for some there is a statistically higher risk of violence, young people were clear that they didn’t want the authorities to deliver these services directly. A strong sense of trust has been developed between young people and the Council’s partners (including the fantastic Leap Confronting Conflict and the St Matthew’s Project) and there can be positive impacts from this way of working, helping reduce the number of victims and perpetrators of serious violence. We also know that other pressures such as domestic violence, school exclusions, poverty and discrimination still impact on too many young people’s lives, with this pressure increasing during the school holidays and only made worse by the coronavirus pandemic. We hope that you will join us in continuing to push the Government for more funding for early intervention schemes like those we deliver locally and to invest in the support systems that unfortunately too many families must still rely on.