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Thursday, 21 March 2013

Newham’s peace campaigners YoungStars up for national award

The YoungStars of Newham who campaign against gang culture and postcode-related violence.

Melissa York, ReporterThursday, March 21, 2013 

A team of young campaigners who encourage others to reject gang violence have been nominated for a national volunteering award.

YoungStars, a group of young people from Newham, were chosen from hundreds of dedicated volunteers as one of three finalists in the ‘Team Activity’ category of the vInspired National Awards.

The annual ceremony, due to have taken place on Tuesday, aims to challenge negative attitudes towards young people by highlighting the creativity, motivation, and generosity of inspring volunteers and young-workers.

YoungStars was started by a group of college friends two years ago and they have launched a number of projects to campaign against gang culture and postcode-related violence.

Tahmid, a team member, said: “We don’t volunteer for recognition, but it’s great for us to know that people appreciate what we do.

“Hopefully we can inspire other young people to volunteer and make a difference in their communities.

“The more noise we make, the more people will listen. In two years, we’ve met so many young people doing good things.

“We need to expand this collective voice, take the Peace Pledge wherever we go, and carry on this work.”

YoungStars launched a Peace Pledge at the 02 Arena in 2011 to completely reject violence and actively practise ‘positive peer pressure’ and they have collected over 5,000 signatures from young people to date.

The team also work with schools, colleges, and youth centres in Newham but they plan to recruit members from other areas in 2013.

YoungStars are also looking forward to completing their plans for a Peace Garden in the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and they will be launching a clothing line in the coming months to raise money for their work.

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