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No role model drives kids into gang culture—Prince's Trust

PUBLISHED: 20:30 27 August 2008 | UPDATED: 13:34 05 October 2010

Kids hang out to create their own 'community'

Kids hang out to create their own 'community'

TEENAGERS are being driven into a gang culture in East London for support—because of a lack of parent and adult role models, according to The Prince's Trust. Three out of 10 youngsters do not have a parent who they consider to be a role model, says the youth charity in its report Culture of Youth Communities

Mike Brooke

TEENAGERS are being driven into a gang culture in East London for support—because of a lack of parent and adult role models, according to The Prince’s Trust.

Three out of 10 youngsters do not have a parent who they consider to be a role model, says the youth charity in its report Culture of Youth Communities.

Around six-out-of-10 of youths in East London claim that finding a sense of identity’ is the main reason for joining a gang, the charity’s survey found. One-in-five are looking for role models in gangs.

“Our research suggests youngsters create their own youth communities’ and gangs,” said Prince’s Trust chief executive Martina Milburn.

“They go in search of the influences that could once have been found in traditional communities.

“All the threads that hold a community together were given by youngsters as motivations to join gangs—common identity, role models, a sense of safety.”

The survey of teenagers and young adults up to the age of 25 also highlights how East Londoners are more likely to turn to a peer group with a problem (54 per cent), rather than turn to a parent (36 per cent).

The issues most likely to hold them back, they found, are low self-confidence and lack of work (both 26 per cent), the research found.

The Trust’s programmes provide positive’ adult role models, helping develop confidence and skills for work, to counter the effects of peer pressure and the gang’ culture.

The shock findings come as one High Street back has given £1 million to the Prince’s Trust for a scheme to help disadvantaged youngsters run their own projects.

The bank boss signing the cheque, Stephen Moir, head of community investment at NatWest and Royal Bank of Scotland Group, said: “The research shows low self-confidence can hold youngsters back, which can be significant if they lack ambition or confidence in further education or apply for the job they really want.”

The cash is already bringing about some life-changing projects, from drugs education classes to anti-knife crime workshops.

The gang culture may be strong in East London, says the Trust, but across the country as a whole the survey has found only nine per cent of youths have been part of a gang at some time, while only three per cent regularly’ take drugs and just two per cent carry a knife.

The total sample size was 1,750 among 14 to 25-year-olds undertaken between July 9 and 17, carried out for the Trust online through YouGov. The figures have not been weighted.

www.princes-trust.org.uk

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