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Rally kicks off East End safe haven’ scheme for kids in danger

PUBLISHED: 00:38 30 July 2009 | UPDATED: 14:38 05 October 2010

Tonight's rally in Mile End

Tonight's rally in Mile End

TRADERS and community organisations converged for an impromptu rally tonight to launch a safe haven’ campaign to make the streets of London’s East End safe for youngsters. It was the start of the CitySafe scheme as supporters from three simultaneous meetings came together in the Mile End Road having signed up the first 35 shops to make their premises safe havens’ for youngsters

By Mike Brooke and Gemma Collins

TRADERS and community organisations converged for an impromptu rally tonight to launch a safe haven’ campaign to make the streets of London’s East End safe for youngsters.

It was the start of the CitySafe scheme in Tower Hamlets launched by the East London Communities Organisation, first reported on the East London Advertiserwebsite on July 24.

Supporters from three simultaneous meetings came together in the Mile End Road by the statue of William Booth, founder of the Salvation Army.

They had signed up the first 35 shops who have pledged to make their premises safe havens’ for youngsters under threat or in fear on the streets.

PLEDGE

The traders have pledged to lock the door behind those seeking help and will call police.

Joining the shops this week is the East London Advertiser which has declared its offices in Cambridge Heath Road in Bethnal Green the first commercial office safe haven.’

The campaign also aims to help curb alcohol and drug abuse that haunts the streets as well as create safe havens’ for anyone caught up in a gang clash or knife fight.

Students at Queen Mary College in Mile End where one of the meetings was held are extending their volunteer mentoring scheme with Stepney Green School to run a mediation project to settle disputes among rival teenage groups, college student president Aminul Islam told the rally.

The meeting at the East London Mosque reported an action group being set up to meet regularly to tackle drug and booze problems in Whitechapel.

NOT ALONE

Church Parishioner Camille Makangunya reported from the meeting at St Paul’s in Shadwell where 17 shops in Watney Market alone had signed up to the safe haven’ campaign.

Tower Hamlets councillor Rania Khan told the rally: “This campaign will protect young people who are in fear on the streets. They are not alone—these safe havens are there for them.”

The campaign spreads to neighbouring Hackney tomorrow (Thursday) with evening meetings at St John-at-Hackney Church in Mare Street and the Redmund Resource community centre in Seven Sisters Road.

The first Safe Haven’ scheme began two years ago in Lee, south London, following the death of schoolboy Jimmy Mizen who was being chased into a shop when glass in the door he was trying to open smashed and cut his neck, leaving him to bleed to death.

Campaigners aim is to have 100 safe haven’ schemes across London by November, with City Hall on board.

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A full report on the Tower Hamlets safe haven scheme is on tomorrow’s front-page of the East London Advertiser.


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