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

Monday, 7 October 2013

Escaping the gangs: Our unique campaign to help young Londoners leave a life of crime

Evening Standard


Published: 07 October 2013

Today we launch a groundbreaking initiative to tackle London’s gangs.

An Evening Standard investigation revealed that a quarter of violent crime in the capital is committed by gang members and for too many young Londoners murder, stabbings and shootings are “the norm” .

It is obvious that far more needs to be done by David Cameron’s Government, by Mayor Boris Johnson and by ourselves as citizens.

We have decided to do something no British newspaper has attempted: back young people trying to put their gang life behind them and help them set up and grow social enterprises.

We will give each of these selected groups a £10,000 start-up grant from the Evening Standard Dispossessed Fund. After a careful selection process, we are funding three social enterprises: a removals company, an events planning company and a drama workshop group.

We have partnered with children’s charity Kids Company in the hope this will be the start of many initiatives with other gang members following suit.

But they will need your help. As Commander Steve Rodhouse, charged by the Police Commissioner with fighting gangs, said: “The police on their own cannot resolve this problem— tackling gangs is the responsibility of London as a whole.”

We need you, as readers of the Standard, to get behind these young people and their enterprises. We will demand action from those with the power to act. Together we hope to bring about a fundamental change.
See also

Once, their ‘business’ was violence and drugs. Now they need your support in their quest to become enterprising role models

The ex-cons who’ll take away your stuff… but only if you hire them!
How our campaign works

What are we doing? We are backing ex-gang members to establish and grow viable social enterprises as a means of escaping the criminal and gang-related cycle. We have assessed their business proposals and have approved three of them for a £10,000 start-up grant from the Dispossessed Fund.

What is a social enterprise? A business that has social objectives rather than simply the pursuit of profit for external shareholders. These social objectives may include investing in their community as they grow, such as to hire NEETS and other young people who are genuine about leaving gangs and reforming their lives.

Who are we partnering with? Kids Company, the charity founded by Camila Batmanghelidjh in 1996. They provide intensive practical, emotional and educational support to 18,000 vulnerable children, and their clients include gang members who are the most marginalised in our city. Kids Company will provide key-workers, business-development mentors and in-kind support to our social entrepreneurs.

Why are we doing this? Gang turf wars and postcode violence have been the scourge of London for a decade. New research by University College London reveals some Londoners growing up in war-zone-like ghettoes where the stabbing, shooting and murder of peers has become “normal”. Many young people realise that gang life is a one-way ticket to nowhere, but struggle to exit. This pilot project offers a way out and sets the ball rolling to explore new initiatives.

Which social enterprises are we backing?

All in All Transit, a removals business by Daniel Barnes and Michael Gonedro

NewBiggz, a wedding and events planning company driven by Karl Lokko

The FAB Arts Company, offers drama workshops, headed by Feras Al-Bakri

What are we asking readers to do?

To put business their way and simply give them a try

Industry experts may be able to offer mentoring and business advice

Once you have used them, to tell your friends and give them a reference
How to get in touch

You can log on to

You can help Kids Company by making a donation at

No comments:

Post a Comment