Thornton Heath Youth Open Day – Saturday 26th May, 11am to 3pm at St Paul’s Church, Saint Paul’s Road, CR7 8NB
It’s always disheartening to hear or read about incidents of knife crime in the news, but when these incidents involve your neighbours, it’s not only devastating, but worrying too. On the 8thof August last year, Jermaine Goupall was brutally murdered. Jermaine’s death was the result of a rivalry between Croydon gang CR0 and Thornton Heath gang CR7, even though he had no involvement with either. At just 15 years old, Jermaine was one of the youngest people in the country to die as a result of knife crime, and his family haven’t and may not ever recover from his untimely death.
There were 683 crimes involving knives in the borough from April 1 2016 to March 31, 2017. That’s more than a 100% increase from the previous year – statistics which are deeply concerning for our community. And, following the shock of Jermaine’s death, the situation hasn’t improved. The increase in knife crime can be partially attributed to a decline in the number of police on our streets and a cut in youth services – both the trickle-down effect of decisions made by central government.
It has now become such an epidemic, that the Home Office recently announced new funding has been secured to help communities work with young people and prevent them from being drawn into knife crime. But we need long-term solutions.
Whilst our Croydon North MP, Steve Reed, and Croydon Central MP, Sarah Jones, have been fighting hard to address the problem of knife crime in Croydon, the local Thornton Heath community has been coming together to take action. Local residents don’t want to see their neighbours suffer the same trauma as Jermaine’s family. We want to prevent it from happening to any other family – in Thornton Heath and beyond. That’s why, in a collaborative, community-led initiative, the Thornton Heath Youth Open Day has been created – to bring together the people who can shape the change.
Designed to give young people and their families the opportunity to learn about the activities and support available to youth in the local area, the day is a local, grassroots response to what’s happening in our community.
Taking place from 11am to 3pm on Saturday 26th May at St Paul’s Church (CR7 8NB), the Youth Open Day is a chance for the young people of Thornton Heath (and their families) to meet with local youth group leaders. Whether it’s sport, music, art or drama that they’re interested in, there will be the opportunity to find out more about some of the incredible opportunities on offer to them. There will also be Councillors, mentors and other community leaders who can help young people in the area take a positive step towards standing against knife crime. It’s also a great time to meet other people (young and old) in Thornton Heath who are also anxious about youth violence and who want to make a change by contributing their ideas towards creating a locally-led plan for the future.
So, come and have your say. Be part of the change and meet your neighbours. We look forward to seeing you there!