This blog is all that remains from the former website which was closed after 8 years of providing a 'wiki' of urban street gangs in London.

An unfinished history of modern urban street gangs in London has been used to replace some of the content of the original site, beginning here

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Evening Standard: The Gangs of London – Leap’s response

Wednesday 25th September 2013

Read our response to the Evening Standard campaign: The Gangs of London

On Wednesday 25th September, the Evening Standard launched a new campaign called The Gangs of London. I think it’s great that the challenge of serious violence by and between young people is given such a strong prominence in London’s leading newspaper.

However, there’s a real risk that the article presents young people as a lost cause. We work in an alliance of national and London youth organisations (listed below), who feel strongly that we best serve the interests of young people by highlighting their potential and ability to take control of their lives – not by presenting them as determined purely by their circumstances.

Ricky’s story, as told in the article, is tragically similar to many of the lives of the young people we work with – except in one respect. In Leap’s experience – in its training of young people who carry weapons, offend or are in gangs – they have untapped talents, potential and resources and can take very impressive responsibility for their lives and for those around them. Leap’s programmes really challenge them to understand their relationship with anger, fear and excitement. They learn how to respond instead of react – to become role models instead of ring leaders. After 26 years of work we continue to be surprised and delighted by the heights that young people can reach overcoming their challenges.

We applaud the Evening Standard for starting the debate and hope this is the beginning of a more coordinated response. Now let’s hear from some young people who have more positive outcomes.

Thomas Lawson
Chief Executive
Leap Confronting Conflict

Alliance members:
Street League
Youth at Risk
London Youth
UK Youth
Foyer Federation

We asked Clark Short, 21 an apprentice at Leap what he thought about the first article:

“I feel like this campaign is writing off young people who are involved in gangs; it doesn’t show much hope for them to change which is sad and it makes it all sound so hopeless. It portrays all young people in such a negative way when actually it’s only a select group involved in these activities – lots of young people are contributing to society and doing great things, even if they’ve had problems in their lives. I don’t think it’s right to group all young people together like this.

It’s good that the problem of youth violence and gangs has been given so much attention by a big newspaper like the Evening Standard, hopefully more people will take notice and support young people to get out of gangs.”

Clark, 21 Leytonstone
Quarrel Shop Graduate and Business Support Apprentice at Leap

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