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‘Make our streets safer’ pupils urge Tower Hamlets Council’s youth summit

PUBLISHED: 16:00 23 November 2018

Youth Summit call for action on street safety and child poverty. Picture: Kois Miah

Youth Summit call for action on street safety and child poverty. Picture: Kois Miah

Kois Miah

A new action plan is being put together to make children safer from street crime and lift families out of poverty in the East End, Tower Hamlets Council’s second youth summit heard.

Youth summit at Poplar's Spotlight centre gets pledge on street safety. Picture: Kois MiahYouth summit at Poplar's Spotlight centre gets pledge on street safety. Picture: Kois Miah

Sixth form students were among delegates at Monday’s summit staged at Poplar’s Spotlight youth centre which was called to thrash out how to improve safety and wellbeing.

A new three-year ‘better deal’ plan was revealed by the mayor after listening to the voice of young people through a series of video messages.

Issues voiced in the videos included knife crime, education opportunities and generally healthy living.

“The East End has the highest rate of child poverty in the country,” mayor John Biggs warned. “Four-out-of-10 children live in families below the poverty line.

Mayor John Biggs tells youth summit... Mayor John Biggs tells youth summit... "Four-out-of-10 children live below poverty line." Picture: Kois Miah

“Yet Tower Hamlets is a young borough, the fourth youngest in the UK.

“We hear youngsters have talent and high aspirations—our job is to harness that talent and make it to flourish.”

The council promised “robust action” using its resources to make the East End a better place to grow up and to be educated.

Sixth form pupils from Poplar’s Langdon Park Secondary voiced concerns about peer pressure and the “normalisation of violence”.

Cllr Abdul Ullah hosting one of the youth summit workshops. Picture: Kois MiahCllr Abdul Ullah hosting one of the youth summit workshops. Picture: Kois Miah

But they also spoke of how trusted adult professionals could help them. Their message is now being incorporated into the council’s updated ‘children and families’ plan, with “robust action” over the next three years.

Cllr Danny Hassell, cabinet member for schools and young people, said: “We’ve heard powerful messages with clear ideas about their future.

“We are working over the coming months on our plan to support young people with robust action.

“Our plan will set a blueprint for how we utilise resources to promote safety, wellbeing and life opportunity.”

Cllr Danny Hassell... Cllr Danny Hassell... "We hear powerful messages from our young people who have clear ideas about their future." Picture: Kois Miah

The summit included workshops hosted by council members and senior town hall officers including chief executive Will Tuckley.

Delegates came from the emergency services, educational, voluntary and community organisations and from faith groups.

Among those taking part were East London Business Alliance, Tower Hamlets College, Job Centre Plus, the Met Police, NHS, Tower Hamlets Housing Forum, London Fire Brigade, Queen Mary University and Canary Wharf Group.

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