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Suitable premises are needed to deliver youth programmes

11 April, 2019

Young people outside the Arts Foundation gallery in Queen’s Crescent

• THE New Journal is to be congratulated for its headline exposure of the failure of the Council to address the problem of youth fatal violence, this time in Gospel Oak.

For the record there have been at least three other near fatal incidents in Gospel Oak since January 20 involving four victims.

The article by John Gulliver on the forced closure by the council of the von Herkomer arts project for younger people back in September, has now resulted in in the reopening of the project shortly, (Second thoughts on the value of the arts, April 4).

There was a community meeting on Tuesday attended by almost 200 local people, organised by Queen’s Crescent Community Association, which, despite anger at the lack of action in Gospel Oak by the Council since the last fatal stabbing in the area back on February 20, was peaceful and respectful towards the family of Calvin.

Kier Starmer took time off from his day job to attend and admitted that not enough had been done by the Council since the last killing. We now need to move forward and there will be a second meeting on progress on Wednesday April 17 at the QC community centre.

As many contributors at the meeting acknowledged, QCCA and its partners are doing fantastic work with local young people.

However, they struggle under the burden of the Council’s demand for £26,400 annual rent for the youth and sports centre in Weedington Road (the Dome built and financed largely by its own and charity resources).

Thanks to pressure from the CNJ and the community the £10,000 per year rent demanded from the von Herkomer organisation has now after almost eight months been waived.

Hopefully, now the Council will look again at the excessive rent it charges for the Dome and resolve the outstanding lease and planning permission issues which are causing problems in making applications for future funding for finance ( from charities) for “prevent” youth work programmes.

Local voluntary organisations require suitable premises to deliver their youth programmes, and these must be available for the medium and longer term.

The council cannot hide behind the lack of government for its failure to prevent our young people being killed. They must act, or in May 2020 we will be back in the community centre with yet another meeting after yet another a fatality. Thank you once again CNJ and QCCA



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