Voices Not Violence: New project works with Camden's young people to highlight how violence affects them
PUBLISHED: 13:49 26 November 2019 | UPDATED: 15:08 26 November 2019
Youth workers from the Castlehaven Community Association, the Kentish Town Community Centre, and the Queen's Crescent Community Association are leading the weekly outreach sessions with local young people. The idea, called Voices Not Violence is to hear what they think, and to produce a short film which can then inform future provision for young people in the borough.
The boys taking part on the evening the Ham&High visited the Castlehaven Centre were a group of under 14s and were considering three issues: What youth violence means to them, how they have been affected by it, and how it can be solved.
One of them explained: "It's a bunch of lost kids that don't know what they're doing. Sometimes they're bringing it to the youth clubs. Sometimes their parents are struggling and they're going out selling drugs for them. They might get involved in gangs because of that."
Another boy said there had been "two stabbings on my road this year", while when it comes to solving the problem, the group agreed that "doing more things in the community together" and discussed how poverty, even in otherwise "posh areas" contributed to youth violence.
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Youth leader Jamie Weight told this newspaper about the project. He said: "We are getting the views about violence from young people. The film will give people who fund organisations like youth clubs - and the local council - the evidence to keep running things like this."
Jamie added he felt young people - and their parents - were worried about getting on with their day to day lives.
He said: "Parents are scared. Kids are too. They don't turn up or they ask us to meet them to bring them down. I think social media plays a massive part. I would say it has a good side to it, people can access information, but there are downsides."
Jamie explained rumours of violence often spread on social media and can be hard to intercept. He added: "We listen to the kids but you just don't know. It's all hearsay and it [youth violence] can be so sporadic. There's only so much you can do.
"People are angry, it's affecting people in different ways."