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Source: Mayor of London

  • Sadiq invests £2.3m in package of violence reduction measures, including delivering new dedicated one-to-one mentoring at London’s Pupil Referral Units
  • More support for grassroots community-led after-school opportunities
  • Mayor launches ‘You’ve Got This’ video message for young Londoners with award-winning social entrepreneur and youth leader, Amani Simpson

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has today announced £2.3 million of investment to provide extra support for young Londoners returning to school who have been most disadvantaged by missing out on valuable education during the Covid-19 pandemic.


Young Londoners, particularly those from disadvantaged backgrounds, have been profoundly impacted by the Covid-19 lockdown, with many missing out on several months of education at a vital time in their lives. As Londoners return to school, Sadiq has today announced a package of new measures to help support some of the capital’s most disadvantaged young people to stay in education and stay safe.


The new 2.3m funding, through London’s Violence Reduction Unit (VRU), is part of a package to deliver dedicated one-to-one mentoring support for young Londoners with complex needs that attend London’s Pupil Referral Units (PRUs).


The new mentoring scheme recognises that for many young people, a consistent one-to-one relationship with a responsible, approachable adult is key to keeping them on track with their studies, attendance, behaviour, and career direction. Funding for the new mentoring scheme will be available in all 32 London boroughs. It is the latest example of London’s VRU, which works to prevent crime before it occurs, investing in evidence-based practice as part of a public health approach to reducing violence in the capital.


City Hall funding will also provide much-needed career mentoring in response to PRUs expressing concern about year 11 pupils and their and their access to learning, training or earning in supporting them in the crucial transition from school into further education or employment.


Sadiq’s investment will also work to re-engage those young people at risk of leaving mainstream education through sport, offering it as an intervention to encourage them to divert their energy to something healthy away from harmful influences and into positive opportunities during half-term, Easter and across the summer holidays. It will also boost existing investment in grassroot community-led activities for the most in-need young Londoners providing them with confidence, skills, opportunities and support in the hours after school, which evidence shows they are most at risk of becoming involved or being a victim of violence.[1]


Included in the package of investment is £1.4m of funding that will be directed to help young Londoners, at risk of being exploited by criminal gangs, to stay in school following a prolonged period away from education. It will provide support to more than 200 schools in 16 London boroughs* to deliver vital personal support to young Londoners at risk of exclusion. The funding will also help grassroots community organisations in high crime areas to reach young people between the ages of 10 and 18 at risk of exclusion or violence between the vital after-school hours of 3-7pm.


Today, the Mayor has also premiered an empowering new video message to young Londoners – ‘You’ve Got This’. Shared from today online, with schools, community and youth organisations across the city, the video aims to share an uplifting message with young people and help them access opportunities and activities in their area and online. The film features a poem written by Shaniqua Benjamin from Croydon. The video is the brainchild of award-winning social entrepreneur and youth leader Amani Simpson and jointly produced with Million Youth Media, a youth-led media organisation that use the power of film to challenge perceptions.


The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “My plan to tackle violent crime in London means being tough on crime and tough on the causes of crime. Those causes are extremely complex and involve deep-seated problems, like inequality, poverty, social alienation and a lack of opportunities for young people.  These issues have been made far worse by the Government’s cuts over the past decade to the police and preventative services like youth centres, council services and charities, as well as the growing illegal drugs market.


“London’s Violence Reduction Unit is absolutely focused on tackling the underlying causes of violent crime, but there is a real risk that these issues could be made even worse by the impact of Covid-19. New funding from London’s VRU will support the delivery of a wide-ranging mentoring scheme and after-school activities for young Londoners most in need.


“The VRU is committed to tackling crime before it occurs and now is the time to invest in our youth services, our communities and our police – not more cuts. The future of young Londoners depends on it.”


The announcement coincides with a visit by VRU Director, Lib Peck, to London East Alternate Provision in Tower Hamlets. The centre delivers one-to-one mentoring, after school sports activity and careers advice, and are continuing with their work with social distancing measures in place.


Lib Peck, Director of London’s VRU, said: “With children returning to school following a lengthy period away, it’s now more important than ever that we give schools and Pupil Referral Units the support they need to keep all pupils fully engaged in their education. We know the importance of education in a young person’s life and we’re determined to do everything we can to provide the support young Londoners need to stay in school and have the positive opportunities they deserve.


“The new dedicated mentoring scheme funded by the VRU will empower Pupil Referral Units to make long-term and lasting change to the lives of some of London’s most disadvantaged children at this challenging time. 


“Our investment will support schools to tackle exclusions and crucially involve community groups in the work of the VRU – building their capacity to support young people with the most complex needs in the vital after-school period and help deliver the best long-term solutions to reducing violence.”

MIL OSI United Kingdom