Mayor of London funding new scheme aimed at addressing causes of crime, reports Simon Allin, Local Democracy Reporter
A project has been launched to bring people together to tackle crime in a part of Haringey that has been badly affected by the problem.
The MyEnds programme, set up by the Mayor of London’s violence reduction unit, has awarded £750,000 to a scheme in Tottenham Hale to empower the community to help address the causes of crime.
Launched at the Harris Academy in Tottenham on 21st July, the project – dubbed ‘Home Cooked’ – aims to bring together local residents and community groups who know the area’s problems and provide funding for the solutions they come up with.
Tottenham Hale is identified as having one of the borough’s highest levels of serious youth violence in Haringey Council’s young people at risk strategy.
The MyEnds programme is led by the Bridge Renewal Trust and Haringey Council, with the Godwin Lawson Foundation, North London Partnership Consortium, Father 2 Father Community Interest Company and Mind in Haringey. It was one of eight schemes to win funding from City Hall earlier this year.
Geoffrey Ocen, chief executive of the Bridge Renewal Trust, said the scheme would involve the community “co-creating” solutions to the crime problem with the aim of building “a stronger, safer and more inclusive Tottenham Hale”.
He said: “We think local community groups are aware on a daily basis of issues and concerns, and quite often are trusted by residents to support and help or to provide a safe space and activities that young people like to do.
“That’s why we think, if we want a sustainable solution to the problems, we need to involve grassroots organisations and community groups.
“I think a bottom-up solution, where we work with the people with the experience of these problems – and when I say people, I mean all ages and demographics – means we are more likely to build a solution that works.”
The Home Cooked project will focus on activities for young people, mental health, family relationships, education, and jobs and economic opportunities.
It has set up a community forum to allow people to discuss problems affecting the area and come up with solutions to them. The first meeting took place online, but the partners are looking for a large venue to host meetings that people can attend in person.
Geoffrey said the forum would allow people “to feel they are part of the solution and part of a shared understanding of the problems and how we can collaborate”.
There will also be a separate forum for young people. Groups or residents who cannot attend the forums are being encouraged to get in touch with the organisers, who can arrange to visit them in the community so their voices can be heard.
Community groups and organisations will be able to apply for a pot of funding to deliver projects designed to reduce crime.
Geoffrey said the initiative would involve “network development” so that community organisations are made aware of some of the key workers that support young people in the area.
“We think we need to bring all the key players together,” he said. “Everyone has a role to play – that includes statutory and local partners and other statutory partners.”
Other organisations involved in the scheme include Haringey Council, Metropolitan Police, local NHS organisations, Probation Service, developers and housing associations in Tottenham Hale, as well as local schools.
“We need to come up with ways to work together to come up with some problems and what the solutions are, then look at who is best able to deliver the solution,” Geoffrey explained. “Sometimes there are groups already working in the area, but sometimes there is a need to set up initiatives to try to address that.
“What we are interested in is bringing people together who are willing to take action, say what matters to them and address the problems they are facing. What it means is we need to have some kind of support and perhaps help to do that, and when we do that, perhaps being linked to an organisation that can support you going forward.
“We want to be very flexible and open-minded to what the community feels and how we can deliver that ambition,” Geoffrey said.
“Ultimately, what we are really trying to achieve is to reach the young people and residents who are otherwise not involved.
“We encourage people, if they live in the area, to get in touch and involved. It is open to anyone.”