Day of sport in Plaistow to bridge dangerous postcode rivalries

Hundreds of students gathered in Plaistow to vie for sporting victory as part of a project to make London’s streets safer for young people.

Around 300 pupils from schools in east and north London took part in the CitySafe Youth Games in Southern Road Playing Fields on July 15.

Campaigners at the London Citizens community group believe sport is crucial in building relationships between schools in order to banish the postcode tensions and school rivalries which have played a part in some of the capital’s most notorious crimes in recent years.

The group is behind a scheme which has, so far, designated 200 shops and business as “havens” where young people can seek refuge when they face danger.

Barry Mizen, father of 16-year-old Jimmy Mizen who was murdered near his home in south London in 2008, has backed the project since is inception.

He said: “Crime and anti social behaviour are blighting the lives of us all. Real change will only be achieved when we work together. CitySafe Havens are a good example of people working to build strong communities. We all stand to benefit because stronger communities are safer communities.”

The project is also supported by the Litambola family whose son 17-year-old Bob Litambola was killed in Custom House in 2007.

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As well as taking part in sporting challenges, young people from Newham, Tower Hamlets, Hackney and Haringey discussed plans to set up new CitySafe zones in their communities.

Students from two schools in Newham recently joined forces to urge businesses to take up the scheme. Youngsters from Little Ilford and St Winefride’s schools canvassed traders in Church Street and Browning Road in Manor Park, encouraging them to sign up for the CitySafe Haven scheme.

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