This Is Local London
12:34pm Thursday 9th May 2013 in By Zac Norman
Chingford MP Iain Duncan Smith will visit Walthamstow tomorrow for his first visit to a new office of a gang mediation organisation of which he is patron.
Gangs Unite, a community interest company based in South Grove, provides gang mediation, high-risk conflict resolution and mentoring through methods such as sport and performing arts.
The office, which is provided by the council, operates to support the young people most at risk of anti-social behaviour and gang culture.
Mr Duncan Smith said: “I am very proud to be a Patron of Gangs Unite.
“They are a remarkable new organisation which has been very effective in helping to pull gang members out and offer them an alternative to a life of crime.”
Gangs Unite is run by Colin James who was a gang member in the 1980s and has served time in prison for armed robbery and GBH with intent.
Mr James said: “Iain being the patron has been good because of his former position when he established the Centre for Social Justice – gangs are close to his heart so it’s only right he became our patron.
“His experience and his support have been helpful.”
Mr James decided to turn his life around after he got out of prison and his family got him involved in church.
The MP for Chingford and Woodford Green, who is Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, has been patron of Gangs Unite since it opened in 2011.