We were told that this is part of an on going programme and conversation to bring on change to make Hackney safer for everyone. The arrangements were for those present to sit at round tables in assorted groupings to discuss the effect, causes and possible solutions to the resulting climate of fear after rising violent incidents in the borough. By the end, each table would present their main outcomes for the facilitators to record. For my part I contributed by stating that reports of gun and knife crime has caused lower attendance at our youth sessions and that parents are expressing anxiety over their children when they are out of sight. As for the causes I offered my belief that there has been too much of a disconnect between adults and young people in general for too long and that social divisions in Hackney make for a loss of community feeling, guidance and protection for our most vulnerable people. This has exasperated the sense in some youngsters, that there is little hope for them to find a prosperous and successful future. None of this is helped by the austerity policies that are being implemented by central government. Such as the 20% cut in police funding and successive enforced local government spending cuts that have inevitably impaired services, including youth work provisions and structured, inclusive sporting practices.
During the final presentations a young man stood up and quoted the old African saying 'it takes a village to raise a child' and followed up to say that his table had agreed that committed community leaders and role models should be viewed in high regard and especially those who are from, live in and serve the area. Hackney Cabinet Member for Community Safety and Enforcement Caroline Selman was supportive and pleased to know that ICiC and CC Hackney's young adult outreach staff fitted this description. That's Henry Boateng, Kevin Cabey, Michael Anuyagu, Sulaymaan Altamash, Ceasar Bryan and returning original Fawcett leading boy, Sean St Louis. Before leaving I spoke with Mayor Philip Glanville saying that as if it's not hard enough a problem we have already thanks to the spending cuts from powers in Westminster. He said (words to the effect) that Hackney will act smart despite this, and do everything possible to make society changes for the better.
Keir Apperley - let's stay safe and look after people.
Dir. Interlinx CiC & CC Hackney's lead coach/manager.