Young people to lead day-long forum tackling the root causes of knife crime: poverty and inequality

Young people will put forward their own solutions to stop the root causes of knife crime in a day-long forum.

Leaders of the future and people with first-hand experience of the trauma resulting from gang beefs will push for solutions which address poverty and inequality at the “Hackathon” at Lilian Baylis Technology College, Kennington, on Saturday.

And they will look at projects which have had success addressing the potential triggers for youth trauma, with early interventions.

The “Hope Hack” is one of a string being staged by the Hope Collective, a partnership of youth charities, organisations, health and justice professionals and Violence Reduction Units (VRUs) which emerged from the Damilola Taylor Trust’s 20th anniversary campaign.

That led Prime Minister Boris Johnson to mark December 7 as an annual day of youth-led social action ‘Day of Hope’, on Damilola Taylor’s birth date.

The hackathons have youth-led peer to peer, day-long workshops that will see young people debating the issues that underpin the crime and violence blighting our poorest communities under the headline “Changing the conversation”.

Damilola’s dad Richard Taylor OBE (pictured) said: “The surrounding conditions that impacted Damilola’s death were clearly marked by the poverty and inequality prevalent in the area that he moved into when arriving in the UK.

“It is long since overdue that societies attention turned to finding effective solutions rather than just focus on symptoms such as knife crime.

“I was delighted when my friend, Prime Minister Boris Johnston, gave his backing to my son’s date of birth becoming an officially endorsed day of youth-led social action and I sincerely hope that this project can help inform his legacy as being one of real change.”

Damilola Taylor Trust Legacy Director, Gary Trowsdale, said: “It is young people themselves that are providing the drive and propelling the project forward.

“The youth leadership team came up with the title ‘Changing the conversation’.

“As they said succinctly and poignantly, the conversation needed to change!

“They were fed up with hearing about knife crime, gangs and drugs and instead wanted to talk about what solutions to poverty and inequality might look like if young people themselves were able to influence policies.”

The events were created by National Citizen Service Trust and other community projects like the Rio Ferdinand Foundation with interactive panels, debate, and discussion to engage the youth participants and give them the best atmosphere for productive working.

Hope Collective Advisory Board chairman Niven Rennie said: “We are delighted to be involved with the Hope Collective and very excited to see the work developing in this way putting young people front and centre of the discussion of how we might tackle the true drivers of social ills, poverty, and inequality and all the other issues that underpin the manifestation of violence.

“It is an amazing array of talented people pulling together behind this legacy project and I am very proud to be chairing the board through this development stage.”

UK Youth whose CEO Ndidi Okezie said, “We were delighted to support the Damilola Taylor Trust in developing the 20th Anniversary legacy campaign.

“Seeing the way that the collective came together has been truly amazing.

“Effective partnership work is the way forward through these tough times for our most vulnerable young people.

“Having the youth sector unite with the evolving VRU network around the UK like this is a reason for hope all on its own. We look forward to playing our part in producing a richly compelling piece of work with the Hackathons.”

The Hackathons format, survey design and a planned summary document have been led by National Citizen Service Trust (NCS) whose CEO Mark Gifford said: “NCS is delighted to be part of the Hope Collective and we are excited to see how the project grows and develops.

“The hack events are a brilliant opportunity to put young people’s voices at the forefront of these discussions and support them to explore and develop innovative solutions to societal challenges.

“Our events team, that has worked on developing the hack format and management of logistics, is passionate about the project and the way it brings so many different organisations into the mix in partnership.”

Other events hackathon events:

Belfast – Saturday August 7 – Racism & Division

Manchester – Saturday September 18 – Housing & Environment

Cardiff – Saturday October 9 – Education & Employment

Glasgow – Saturday November 13 – Physical & Mental Wellness

On-line (National) – Tuesday December 7 – The ‘Day of Hope’ Hack – A series of online

events staged during the day that cover all the areas discussed in the physical events

Other projects in The Hope Collective include:

• The Professional Footballers Association (PFA)

• The Coop

• National Housing Associations Youth Network

• NHS England

• Damilola Taylor Trust

• 2020 Change

• Safer London

• Youth Link Scotland

• Youth Endowment Fund

• Youth Futures Foundation

• National Lottery Community Fund

• Oasis Academies

• MRM McCann Global



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