MP Steve Reed has unveiled plans for a Community Youth Trust to allay fears across Croydon North about the rise in violent youth crime but also to give ‘our’ young people back hope.
In the last month, during a six day period of violence, a young man was murdered in South Norwood, there was a stabbing on Woodville Road, and a hammer attack in Grange Road. Derryck John,17, from Thornton Heath was also jailed for throwing acid in people’s faces.
The MP said: “I’ve led the community campaign against the Government’s short-sighted cuts to neighbourhood policing and the closure of every police station in Croydon North. I’ve also challenged the Government in Parliament over their disastrous cuts to youth services, family support and mental health services – services that have a role to play in stopping violent youth crime.
“We have to keep exposing the unfairness of these Government cuts. But at the same time we can’t just stand by and allow more of our friends and neighbours to become victims as crime spirals out of control. That’s why I’m working with local people to set up a Community Youth Trust to help protect our young people and stop those at risk of drifting into a life of crime. “
Police charged two teens with the murder of Kelva Smith, 20, who died of multiple stab wounds in South Norwood on March 5. One of the accused is aged just 14.
Last month The Chronicle led the call for more enforcement to deal with anti social behaviour on Woodville Road. The stabbing at the junction with Liverpool Road happened at 7.15am on Sunday March 11 and was cordoned off by police.
The pavement was covered in blood after reports of a “large group fighting” near to where a party had been going on all night. Residents saw the stab victim being bundled in to a car. Shortly afterwards a man, in his 20s, arrived at a hospital suffering from stab wounds.
Residents reported seeing the group “laughing and filming” the attack as though it were a “joke”.
On the same day at 9pm a resident was confronted just after he parked his scooter in a car park in Grange Road.
The assailant reportedly pulled out a knife, demanded he handed over the keys and then hit him over the head three times with a hammer.
The MP added: “The first step will be to map out what’s already available in the community so we can help more young people, then to put in joint bids for funding to give ourselves a greater chance of securing the money we need.
“We need to make more use of community spaces to run projects that raise young people’s aspirations. Mentoring, work experience, coaching, sport, supplementary education – our community is rich in talent that can offer all this and more, and so many of us want to help protect our young people.
“The youth trust brings together some of our leading community organisations – Croydon Voluntary Action, Croydon BME Forum, the Asian Resource Community Centre – and is open to all other local groups who want to play a part. We’ve already had interest from churches, mosques, campaign groups and the families of victims who don’t want anyone else to suffer as they have. Council leader Tony Newman has pledged his support. “
If you’d like to get involved and attend the first forum, contact firstname.lastname@example.org