Opinion: Doing nothing is simply not an option

PUBLISHED: 08:30 19 October 2019

Mayor of Newham Rokhsana Fiaz wants a safe borough for young people. Picture: ANDREW BAKER

Mayor of Newham Rokhsana Fiaz wants a safe borough for young people. Picture: ANDREW BAKER

Andrew Baker

A young life ended, a future destroyed and a family heartbroken. He was a pupil from St Bonaventure’s Secondary School in Forest Gate and the school community is also grieving.

I went to the scene of the incident on the day Baptista was murdered with the deputy mayor Cllr John Gray; and the next day went again to lay white roses as a mark of respect and condolences to his family.

The horror of violence facing our young people, and the horror of violence committed by young people, requires us to mobilise everyone in Newham to make the borough safe for all our children.

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We have already started by investing £1.4 million to expand our youth services and increase the number of youth workers in the borough. We've also invested some £10.6 million in children and young people services to strengthen the council's work in this area.

In March this year, we established a Youth Safety Board which I co-chair with consultant Duncan Bew, who is a surgeon and clinical director of major trauma at Kings College Hospital; and who co-founded the charity Growing Against Violence which works in schools on knife-crime and gangs.

The Youth Safety Board includes young people, parents, teachers and experts; and in the next few weeks it'll be launching its strategy and call to action to make Newham a safer place for all our young people.

We have also confirmed the appointment of the council's first-ever Children's and Young People's Commissioner, who will support us in making real our plan for Newham to become the best place in the world for a young person to grow-up. They will ensure that the council is transformed to better serve young people and that Newham fully becomes a children and young people-centred borough so that we can direct them into positive lifestyle choices.

What action do you feel is needed? Email

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