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Mayor announces £45million fund to help young Londoners

PICTURED: Sadiq Khan (Photo credit: © Steve Vas/Featureflash/SilverHub)

THE MAYOR of London, Sadiq Khan, has announced that he is creating a brand new £45million fund to help young Londoners – particularly those who are at risk of getting caught up in crime.

It should be the Government’s job to fund services and activities for young people in London, but it has abdicated its responsibilities. That’s why the Mayor has listened to Londoners’ concerns and is stepping up to provide funding that local communities and charities desperately need and to help young people fulfil their potential.

Sadiq’s new Young Londoners Fund will see £15m invested in each of the next three years, beginning from April.

Of the total new funding:

* £10million a year will make up a new fund into which local communities, charities and schools will be able to bid for funds

* £5million a year will be invested to scale up existing projects funded from City Hall that are already supporting young Londoners

In London, Government cuts over the last eight years have hit young people hard. As a result, councils have been left with no choice but to slash more than £22m from youth services since 2011, closing 30 youth centres, with at least 12,700 places for young people lost.

Mr. Khan believes these services are vital in supporting and helping to develop young people, particularly those who have been left behind or marginalised, in protecting vulnerable children and young adults and helping them avoid being sucked into crime.

He said: “It is shameful that because of this Government’s cuts, youth services across the capital have been decimated. Wherever I go in London, communities tell me that young people need more to do – and I agree.

"I know from personal experience that for many young people, particularly those from deprived and disadvantaged communities, activities and services for young people offer support at crucial times, have a really positive impact and help keep them on the straight and narrow. It is young people who are more likely to suffer from the national rise in violent crimes and I am committed to helping them.

“It is sadly obvious that this Government does not value London’s young people, but I am determined to invest in them – with tens of millions of pounds for activities to support them. No Londoner should be left behind, and this extra money is designed to make sure all young Londoners can make the most of our amazing city. I want to end the scandal of young talent going to waste, and give all Londoners the chance to fulfil their potential.”

The Mayor announced his Young Londoners Fund while visiting the Salmon Youth Centre in Bermondsey today. The centre has been reaching out to young people in inner city London for over a hundred years and inspiring young people to reach their potential and contribute positively to the community in which they live.

Sam Adofo, Director at the Salmon Youth Centre commented: “Salmon has been reaching out to young people in inner city London for over a hundred years. We believe every young person has potential and we work intensively to inspire young people to reach this potential by improving their Health & Wellbeing, involving them in positive Community Engagement, and preparing them for Education and Work. We very much welcome The Mayor’s Young Londoners Fund as it means youth centres like ours will be able to continue the work we do and impact many more young lives.”

Gabrielle Famobio, 19, Youth Work Apprentice, said: “I’ve been coming to Salmon since I was 7 years old. Salmon is an amazing place. I’ve grown so much here, I’ve learnt so much, and most recently I’ve become an Apprentice here. I really don’t know where I would be without Salmon – I probably won’t have a job, income, or even a home! The staff here are like family to me and I love the young people and the work I do here as an apprentice. “

This large new fund, separate from and in addition to the £7m investment the Mayor has already made into knife and gang crime projects in 2017-18 as part of his tough and comprehensive knife crime strategy. This includes supporting knife prevention work in schools, empowering communities with funding for knife crime prevention initiatives, providing specialist youth workers to engage with victims in hospitals, and launching a new positive anti-knife crime campaign – London Needs You Alive.

Sport, culture, citizenship, environment, education and volunteering will be central to successful bids. There will be a strong focus on those communities where the huge cuts in youth services have had the most serious impact. Further details on the Young Londoners Fund will be released in due course.

The kinds of activities that could be supported include building aspiration and progression in under-achieving groups, diversionary activities to keep young Londoners away from crime, and support to address childhood mental health and untreated trauma.

Bharat Mehta CBE, Chief Executive of Trust for London added: “Some young people face additional barriers when it comes to things like finding a job or becoming active citizens in their community, whether that be because of issues such as low family income, immigration status or race. That’s why we welcome this new fund and the lead the Mayor is taking to help young Londoners, particularly those who are vulnerable. It’s important that all our young people are supported to meet their full potential.”

Cllr Lib Peck, Lambeth council leader, said: “The emphasis on small scale, local projects is an approach I fully endorse. In response Lambeth council will work closely with our community groups on putting together targeted and well-developed funding bids to ensure we are doing all we can to ensure that our young people make good life choices, especially those at risk of engaging in knife and other violent youth crime.

“Knife crime is totally unacceptable in our community. So I welcome the Mayor’s decision to provide significant funding for new projects that work to boost our communities and cut the risks our young people face of becoming both perpetrators and victims of these offences.”

Funding for the Mayor’s Young Londoners Fund is being provided from council tax and business rates over which the Mayor has control.

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