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Mayor uses Tower Hamlets council tax to keep youths out of trouble in school holiday

PUBLISHED: 17:43 05 August 2019 | UPDATED: 10:30 06 August 2019

Youth activity programme launch at Shadwell Gardens estate by Tower Hamlets mayor John Biggs (right). Picture: Rehan Jamil

Youth activity programme launch at Shadwell Gardens estate by Tower Hamlets mayor John Biggs (right). Picture: Rehan Jamil

© Rehan Jamil

Council tax money is being used to keep youths out of trouble during the summer holiday by creating activities for young people.

Mayor meeting youth and community groups to help keep youngsters out of trouble over the summer holidays. Picture: Rehan JamilMayor meeting youth and community groups to help keep youngsters out of trouble over the summer holidays. Picture: Rehan Jamil

The move comes at a crucial time when Tower Hamlets Council acknowledges the rising spate of unacceptable behaviour when schools are closed for six weeks.

A programme of activities to help fill the long summer days was announced when the mayor visited Shadwell Gardens housing estate on Friday.

"The aim is to keep young people engaged so they spend their energy in a positive way," Mayor John Biggs said. "Providing young people with positive opportunities will help reduce anti-social behaviour.

"We have one of the best-funded youth services in London to run a series of free summer activities."

On the ball... Mayor Biggs aiming to On the ball... Mayor Biggs aiming to "keep young people engaged in a positive way". Mayor John Biggs said. Picture: Rehan Jamil

The council believes this is a crucial time to provide "diversions" as the summer holidays always reveal a rise in bad behaviour.

But families on low incomes struggle in the East End to provide things for youngsters to do in summer.

So the council has come up with free activities, with just a few having "a nominal charge".

Youth workers are being sent onto housing estates to run recreation activities to keep youngsters "out of trouble" and also encourage physical activities to keep fit on council estates managed by Tower Hamlets Homes housing organisation.

It s chief executive Susmita Sen said: "Reducing anti-social behaviour is our top priority.

"The summer programme will get young people involved in activities to make sure they are kept busy during the summer break, to divert them to positive activities."

Seven youth and community organisations have been commissioned by the housing body to run the five-week summer holiday programme, paid for with town hall funding.

Activities include watersports, arts projects and day trips.

Tower Hamlets Homes manages estates for the council with around 22,000 families in rented and leasehold properties.

The seven organisations it has commissioned are Society Link covering Shadwell and Wapping, Vallance Community Sports at Globe Town and Bethnal Green, Osmani Trust on the Chicksand and Collingwood estates, Newark Youth in Whitechapel and Stepney, Ocean Youth Connexions on Malmesbury and St Stephen's estates, Neighbours in Poplar covering Poplar and Limehouse and St Hilda's centre on the Boundary estate in Shoreditch.

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