From the streets up: young people act on community safety

Young people in Hackney have taken the initiative to bring together their peers from across the borough.

With funding from the Youth Opportunity Fund, members of the Hackney North East Youth Forum, all of whom are aged between 13 and 19, staged the One Hackney event to promote unity; inspire young people to achieve and celebrate their talent; and challenge anti-social behaviour through education and awareness.

The unique event, on Friday 14 August at BSix 6th Form College, was developed not only to bring together young people from across the borough but also to offer personal safety training and support to those affected by crime. Through performances and workshops it helped raise awareness of police strategies to promote positive relationships with and amongst young people.

Karl Winter, Hackney Police Partnership Inspector, who plays a key role in implementing Hackney’s strategy to tackle youth violence, Operation Curb, welcomed the event saying is was unique, as community safety events are more often initiated by the police or community safety officers: ‘It’s fantastic that the initiative originated from young people, To my knowledge this is the first event in the borough which is peer-led and peer-directed.’

Forum members were justly pleased with the outcomes, as one member said: ‘It’s gone well, lots of people turned up. Personally, I’ve gained more planning and organisational skills. The event is good as it shows both sides of the story: stop and search from the police perspective as well, and we challenge stereotypes and myths about knives.’

Special guest Councillor Julius Nkafu, Hackney Council’s Cabinet Adviser for Crime and Community Safety, commented: ‘I have been impressed by the quality of the workshops, the real spirit behind the evening and most of all, by the dedication of the young people who made this happen. It’s fantastic that so many people attended.’

The night was topped off with entertainment from high-profile acts that were a real draw. Kevin J, star of MTV Base Kojo s Comedy Funhouse , was a resounding success, delighting the audience with his playful but topical humour.

One Hackney was organised by the North East Youth Forum, with support from the Council’s Youth Participation team. For more information about Hackney Youth Service visit: