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Sadiq Khan opens bids for £45m youth services fund that could benefit Tower Hamlets

PUBLISHED: 16:00 15 May 2018

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan. Picture: Ken Mears

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan. Picture: Ken Mears

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Mayor of London Sadiq Khan today opened the door for community groups in Barking and Dagenham to bid for a share of £45 million fund for youth services.

The Young Londoners Fund runs over three years, offering voluntary organisations, schools and charities a third of the prize pot this year for projects supporting disadvantaged young people across the capital.

Projects should promote skills, training and mentoring, helping young people “aspire to reach their potential” and “avoid getting caught up in crime”. A further £500,000 has been allocated for community organisations that increase “community cohesion” and “social integration” through sport.

Organisers hope to tackle rising knife crime as well as plug one third of the £145m lost from London boroughs’ youth services over the last six years.

“I refuse to accept that nothing can be done to stem the appalling rise of violent crime we are seeing across the country,” said Mr Khan.

“Community and grassroots projects play a vital role in tackling the causes of violent of crime within our communities, and giving more young Londoners the skills, support and aspirations they need to turn away from crime and fulfil their potential.”

Tower Hamlet Council’s funding for youth services has halved since 2011, figures released in March show.

More than £4.7 million was slashed from the budget between 2011-12 and the last financial year, according to data obtained via freedom of information requests.

A report from Green Party London Assembly member Sian Berry showed cuts across the capital totalled £39m during the period — 44pc on average.

Of the 30 London boroughs which responded to the requests, Tower Hamlets reported a fall in spending from £8,704,950 in 2011-12 to £3,992,000 in 2017-18 (down 58pc). The council has no changes planned for this spending this year.

For 20-year-old Amina Mohamed, a member of City Hall’s peer outreach team, the Young Londoners Fund provides “countless opportunities to the young people who need it most”.

“It is the start of very positive change around London and it couldn’t have come at a better time,” she added.

Click here to apply (deadline Monday, July 9).

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