Recorder letters: Violence Reduction Unit, end bullying, safe your stamps and children at Christmas

The Violent Reduction Unit (VRU), has been set up by City Hall to help tackle the surge in youth cri

The Violent Reduction Unit (VRU), has been set up by City Hall to help tackle the surge in youth crime. Picture: PA IMAGES - Credit: PA Wire/PA Images

Letters, contributions and comments sent in from Recorder readers this week.

Initiative key to end surge in youth violence

Tom Copley, Londonwide Assembly Member, writes:

The widespread rollout of early intervention initiatives across the capital is key to our efforts to end the surge in serious youth violence.

The Violence Reduction Unit (VRU) has been set up at City Hall to help deliver a public health approach to the issue, and recognises the importance of reaching out to the most vulnerable young Londoners before they fall into the grip of gang activity and exploitation.

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Our education system also has a central role to play in tackling violent crime.

Accordingly, the mayor has recently announced an extra £4.7 million of funding through the VRU directed at reducing school exclusions, improving after-school provision and giving support to pupils struggling with the transition between primary and secondary school.

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Whilst it is clear that having a strong police presence on our streets is vital for ensuring robust enforcement, it is also essential to put in place preventative measures and safeguards for the most at-risk children.

The government should bolster the efforts that City Hall is making in each of these areas by reversing the significant cuts it has made to youth services and the Met Police and reconsidering welfare reforms that have pushed many children into poverty and precarious circumstances.

We all have a role to play to end bullying

Lauren Seager-Smith, chief executive officer, Kidscape, writes:

Anti-Bullying Week was November 11 - 15 with the theme 'Change Starts With Us'.

We all have a role to play in creating a world where bullying is no longer tolerated, and where children feel safe, happy and supported. With at least one child in every class bullied on a daily or weekly basis, we must take action to create a kinder more caring society. Here are steps we can all take:

1. Be kind - it sounds trivial but every day is an opportunity to show kindness to someone. Thank the shop worker, give way in traffic, open the door, smile.

2. Look out for people who are on their own or new to the area. A compliment or a chat can make someone's day.

3. Avoid liking or sharing posts that spread negativity. Social media is great for connecting us with others but far too often is used to hurt, humiliate or spread anger. Make a conscious effort to only build others up and stop following people that spread hate.

4. Be a positive role model. If you are quick to put other people down or laugh at others who are different, it's likely you are having a negative influence on those around you.

5. Be there for the children and teenagers in your life. These are not easy times to be growing up in. Make sure they know you are always there for them, and create time together when they can share what's on their mind. A walk, a trip to the cinema or their favourite restaurant, a car journey - these are all good times to check in.

Finally, if you or someone you know needs help with bullying visit

Your used stamps will help charities

Myrna Chave, PO Box 91, Virginia Water, Surrey, GU25 9AR, writes:

I am appealing for used postage stamps which help me raise funds which I then donate to the Guide Dogs for the Blind.

Recycling used postage stamps is such an easy way to raise money for the charity and I am always in need of all types of postage stamps, including British, foreign and Christmas stamps.

If you are able to help I would be grateful if you could cut the stamps from their envelopes (leaving approx 1cm margin around the stamp) and send them to the address above.

Put children at the heart of Christmas

Emma Bowman, director, Barnardo's South East Region, writes:

Families across the UK are beginning to prepare for festive celebrations, but at Barnardo's our focus is helping and supporting vulnerable children who may be missing out on the joy of Christmas.

This could be because they are leaving care, have been victims of sexual abuse or have mental health issues. That's why we're launching our new Kidsmas campaign to put children at the heart of Christmas.

We're asking people up and down the country to host a Kidsmas Party at home, school, work or with their local community groups to raise money for vulnerable children.

Our free Kidsmas Party packs include games and fun fundraising ideas to help make your gathering a memorable one.

I encourage everybody to get into the Kidsmas spirit this year by hosting a Kidsmas Party. Not only will you have fun, but you'll also help make sure more children are happy, safe and cared for this Christmas. You can download or order your free pack at

Thank you for your support.

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