Sadiq Khan announces funding for youth projects to tackle knife crime

By Tristan Donovan

| 11 May 2018

London Mayor Sadiq Khan will provide an additional £1.15m for community projects to help tackle the issue of knife crime in the capital.

Sadiq Kahn says he wants to be "tough on the causes of knife crime" in London. Picture: London Mayor's Office

The money will be shared between 34 local projects that seek to prevent and protect young people from knife violence. It follows a spate of stabbings in capital, which have claimed the lives of at least 36 people since the start of this year.

Khan said the money is being targeted at local projects after a consultation with young people found they prefer help from people they know and trust in their communities. Projects to be funded include boxing clubs, mentoring projects and efforts to get young people into work.

"As mayor, I have made it a priority not only to be tough on knife crime in London, but tough on the causes of knife crime too," said Khan. "The tragic deaths in recent days and months have highlighted once again how urgently this must be tackled."

"The community and grassroots projects receiving funding today, alongside projects that were funded earlier in the spring, will help root out violence within our communities and give more young Londoners the skills, support and aspirations they need to turn away from crime and fulfil their potential."

The money will be spread across 19 boroughs and comes from the Mayor's Young Londoners Fund. Among projects being funded is ML Community Enterprises, which works with young people at risk of involvement in knife crime in Brixton.

Ira Campbell, the managing director of ML Community Enterprises, said its £50,000 grant will enable it to work with 20 young people. "The project will feature readily available victim key-workers, emotional and practical support, and one-to-one specialist therapeutic counselling including innovative arts and sports therapies," he said.

"We aim to achieve an increase in the confidence and self-esteem of young victims, so they may identify and pursue positive opportunities."

In March the mayor awarded nine other anti-knife crime schemes a share of £250,000. Both that and the new £1.15m are part of the mayor's knife crime strategy, which was unveiled in June 2017.

The strategy promised additional funding to help the Metropolitan Police fight knife crime, the creation of knife crime action plans in each London borough and a drive to increase the number of Safer Schools officers in London schools.

Last month, the Home Office launched a two-year £40m serious violence strategy to increase efforts to steer young people away from violence.

A January 2017 report to the London Assembly said that central government cuts have led to the closure of more than 30 youth centres in the capital since 2011. Before their closure, these youth centres worked with more than 12,700 young Londoners.

The full list of funded projects can be found here.

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