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24 June, 2005

Young people march against gun crime

Young people took to the streets of north London today in a stand against local gun crime.

Boy holding banner on anti-gun crime march.

This is the second year that the march and rally has been organised by the Value Life Youth Act! group, a team of pupils from Gladesmore Community School in Tottenham.

300 pupils, teachers, parents, police and local residents' marched from White Hart Lane today. David Lammy, Minisiter for Culture, attended the march to highlight the positive impact the school is making on the local community.

Reverend Nims, of the Freedom Arc Church, Tottenham, said at the rally:

"This has never happened before in Tottenham. That the young people have taken a lead against gun crime in our community. And you know what that means? It gives us hope, hope for the future..."

Head teacher Tony Hartney has been very supportive, organising assemblies and addressing the school council to spread awareness and recruit allies. Corridor displays also publicise the anti-gun project.

The work has been praised by OFSTED, with such accolades as ‘above average’ active Citizenship and ‘excellent curriculum and teaching’.

The group received training through the Citizenship Foundation’s Youth Act! project, a scheme which aims to increase young people’s ability to bring about social and political change in their community.

Youth Act! is an active citizenship and political literacy project for 11-18 year olds, funded by The Bridge House Estates Trust Fund, the European Commission and the Carnegie UK Trust, and endorsed by Ms. Dynamite.

What the participants say about their training:

“Youth Act!… helped me gain self-confidence and communication skills that helped me do what I thought could only be done by professionals.” (Jeffrey, aged 14)

“Youth Act! has given me confidence and helped me to use my energy and time in a positive way. I love it.” (Francion, aged 15)

“It has meant that I have been able to make a change about something I feel strongly about.” (Yasemin, aged 15)

Another anti-gun crime march through Tottenham is planned for Spring 2006.

Today's march is to feature on BBC London News tonight at 6.30.

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