CamdenNewJournal

The independent London newspaper

Council leader: Everyone in Camden has part to play in keeping young people safe

MP Keir Starmer says 'we must constantly question ourselves'

12 September, 2019 — By Samantha Booth

Town Hall leader Cllr Georgia Gould

EVERYONE in Camden, regardless of background, has a part to play in keeping young people safe.

This was the message from Camden Council leader Georgia Gould after two murder invest­igations were opened on the same night.

And Councillor Gould made the frank admiss­ion that there are young people who don’t feel connected to their community.

She said: “These young people are part of our community and we can never accept that they are losing their lives on our streets. We all have a part to play in keeping them safe.

“This included putting pressure on the govern­ment to boost resources to help young people. “There’s so much we can do locally,” she said.

Keir Starmer, Labour MP for Holborn and St Pancras, said he “genuinely” thinks the approach being taken, including a youth safety taskforce set up in 2017 after a young man was murdered, is the right way forward.

Keir Starmer

It has start­ed handing out grants to organisations who have come up with new ideas.

But Mr Starmer added: “We must constantly question ourselves every time one of these fatalities happens.

“We should not be scared to hold what we are doing up to the light and ask ourselves the question: ‘Are we doing the right thing? Should we change this? Should we do something different?’”

Cllr Gould said people should consider what they can do to make a positive impact on a young person’s life.

“There’s lot of different projects people can get involved in,” she said.

“When we talk to young people often they say they don’t feel safe or part of the community. It’s thinking about if somebody in a business can offer work exper­ience or mentoring or stopping and talking to someone about how they are feeling about their community. It’s basic things about how we work together.”

But she admitted there are still young people in Camden who feel detached from their commun­ities.

“The outreach is having street-based youth workers going to where young people are and building relationships and finding out what support they need,” she said.

The council has invested in peer advocacy prog­rammes and recruited a head of service for Cam­den Safety Network, a multi-disciplinary app­roach to tackling youth violence which will begin its work in Gospel Oak.

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