Youth Safety Taskforce – One Year On

Community leaders, professionals, residents and young people expressed their determination to work together to keep young people safe and prevent more deaths on the streets at an event to mark one year since Camden’s Youth Safety Taskforce Report was published.

The meeting at the Greenwood Centre, in Kentish Town, on Thursday (19 September), which was attended by over 100 people, featured presentations and stalls showcasing important work being done to address the 17 recommendations of the taskforce report – including projects funded with £500,000 awarded by the Camden Youth Safety Fund.

But the ‘one year on’ event was also an opportunity to remember those young people who have tragically lost their lives on the streets of Camden – and to strengthen the resolve of the Council, Met Police, community groups, residents, professionals and young people themselves to work together to end the needless violence.

Rev Jon March, Vicar of St Luke’s Kentish Town, whose church hosted the launch of the Youth Safety Taskforce Report last year, said: “May we never become numb. This is not and never will be ok.”

Camden Deputy Youth MP Jessie Wernick, who spoke at the event, said: “It is amazing to see so many people here who care about our community and about young people in Camden.”

Councillor Georgia Gould, Leader of Camden Council, said the Council was working with others in the community and across London, including with the Mayor of London, to stop the violence.

Cllr Gould said: “This event is a chance to get people together, including those who are not funded by the Council but are doing great work - stepping up and being incredibly helpful. We all want to continue to connect with each other until we stop this violence.”

Among the other speakers were Keir Starmer MP, who is Co-Chair of the Camden Youth Safety Steering Group; Lib Peck, Director of the Mayor of London's Violence Reduction Unit, and Chief Superintendent Raj Kohli, Met Police Borough Commander for Camden and Islington.

Guests also heard presentations on two projects which reach young people at key 'teachable' moments - either when they have been the victims of violence and brought into a hospital A&E department or when they are arrested and brought into custody suites in Camden and Islington. In both cases, youth and family workers engage these young people at a vulnerable and potentially life-changing moment with the aim of helping them to make significant life changes to keep themselves safe and pursue a more positive path.

Other projects, including those funded by the Youth Safety Steering Group, set up stalls at the Greenwood Centre event so visitors could find out more about their work.

Cllr Abdul Hai, Cabinet Member for Young People and Cohesion and Co-Chair of the Youth Safety Steering Group, said:

“I want to thank everyone who has been a part of the Youth Safety Taskforce work so far, including those residents who have shared stories of the personal pain of youth violence in Camden in order to try and stop others in their community going through the same.”