Friday, 7 April 2017
It was certainly a good choice when the Catford and Peckham branches of the Victory Youth Group (VYG) decided to pool their resources to create a gun and knife crime awareness event at the Catford UCKG HelpCentre on 2 April. Close on 300 14 – 25 year olds, from all over south London attended, some accompanied by their parents.
The main attraction was a drama called About this Life, which was set in a typical London living room. It told how one wrong life style affected two families and led to self-destruction. None of the characters could see their way out of seriously troubled lives in which abuse, promiscuity and gangs played key parts.
Kim Powell, the UCKG HelpCentre’s Community Outreach Manager stated that one aim of the event was to show what young people are experiencing and how to get help and advice when they are in trouble. Today’s parents are bringing up children in an environment they don’t understand with technology and problems that they also don’t understand.
She was followed by speakers from Lewisham Council and the Race Equality Foundation. Councillor Damien Egan stressed the importance of maintaining a dialogue with young people and told of the council’s desire to tackle youth violence. Bernadette Rhoden from the Race Equality Foundation was next. She explained that young people are more likely to get involved with gangs aged 12 to 14. When she asked the audience how this happens the young people shouted out “peer pressure, trying to fit in”.
In thanking the organisers for inviting them along, Cllr Alan Hall reiterated that the council is keen to make progress on this topic and introduced Cllr Peter Bernard and Cllr Olurotimi Ogunbadewa. Guests also included PC Tomasz Gamracy and PC Claren Forster of the Met’s Rushey Green neighbourhood community police and Kaya Begam of the Race Equality Foundation.
The event concluded with the real life story of VYG member Oneisha Palmer who turned her life around, against the odds. Today, young people like her are on the right path as responsible citizens and contributors to society, who are making a difference in their families and communities.
After the event Cllr Damien Egan stated: “One word ‘outstanding’. My first thought when invited was that I’d probably turn up to 30 youths, but to my surprise the turnout was amazing. To see youths so involved in such positivity is so inspiring. The VYG is the future and others need to see the importance of this!”
Cllr John Ogunbadewa added: “I have, but have, to make sure a new link is created between the council and the UCKG. Today I witnessed such great work the HelpCentre does for the youths, it’s amazing to see. The performances were also very entertaining.”
Similar events were held in the UCKG HelpCentres in Finsbury Park, Brixton, Kilburn and Plaistow, and were supported by Trident officers and local councillors.
Notes to editors
UCKG is a Christian church and registered charity that offers a range of practical support activities alongside spiritual support and comfort. It reached the UK in 1995 and has gone from strength to strength, providing support and spreading the Christian faith through its branches in England and Wales.
VYG is the youth arm of the UCKG HelpCentre, and works to help young people develop their full potential. VYG started in the UK in 1996 and has been growing steadily ever since. Over 1,300 young people attend VYG meetings every week, sharing sessions that include practical teaching, fun and spiritual development.
For further information please contact the UCKG HelpCentre Press Officer via e-mail on email@example.com or direct line 020 7686 6033, or call the PR consultant on 07867 510909.