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Spotlight turned on Isle of Dogs to fill spaces and break cycle of youth offending

PUBLISHED: 07:00 29 July 2020

Turning the world upside down... Poplar Harca's Spotlight youth service at Chrisp Street Market, November 2018. Picture: Rehan Jamil

Turning the world upside down... Poplar Harca's Spotlight youth service at Chrisp Street Market, November 2018. Picture: Rehan Jamil

© Rehan Jamil

Spotlight is on the Isle of Dogs to tackle youth offending and turn the world upside down by unlocking youngsters’ potential and hoping to transform their community.

'Wash out hate' campaign... Spotlight project cleaning up community space. Picture: Poplar Harca'Wash out hate' campaign... Spotlight project cleaning up community space. Picture: Poplar Harca

Poplar’s Spotlight youth organisation has joined up with the Utilize Project social enterprise to “put empty urban spaces to work” with creative projects.

The programme is crucial because of lockdown and the Covid-19 pandemic, the organisation points out, for young people with limited resources and opportunities to develop themselves.

“The economic climate and the impact of the pandemic has left too many at a loose end and lacking support,” Spotlight’s Nahim Ahmed said: “This risks exacerbating problems with antisocial behaviour.

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“Every young person is unique to us, so we provide tailored support for people across the Isle of Dogs.”

The Spotlight service run by Poplar Harca regeneration body is running what it calls detached youth work to get young people involved in their community and “break the cycle of offending”.

Nahim added: “We give them space in which they can develop or find new talents, be valued, and have professional support to become the successes they were always capable of being.”

The outreach programme begins rolling out in August to provide courses for qualifications to help jumpstart careers, all tailored to meet the needs of young people.

Utilize Project co-founder Shahaveer Hussain said: “Empty spaces too often are either neglected and left to generate problems or develope in a way that doesn’t serve the community.”

The programme aims to make sure that people who have plans “to lift up the communities around them” get the space to do it.


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