Youth violence is on the rise, with Met Police statistics stating half of all knife crime offenders in London to be aged between 10 and 19 years old. Yvette Cooper, Chair of the Home Affairs Select Committee, called this crisis as “a national emergency”.

How does St Andrew’s Club help?

The 2018 Youth Violence Commission Report cited youth clubs as part of the solution.

At St Andrew’s Club, we believe prevention is better than cure. We help to tackle youth crime and violence as our aims are to provide young people, of diverse backgrounds and from an early age, with a safe, inspiring environment and an engaging programme of activities in which to develop a sense of belonging, confidence, respect and purpose to help fulfil their potential.

Topical issues affecting members’ lives are addressed through workshops and discussions: from body image, mental health and money management to knife crime and gang violence. Only last month the Integrated Gangs and Exploitation Unit delivered an informative session at the Club to 20 members, aged 12 to 17 about the dangers of gang culture.

Young men are identified as particularly vulnerable to gang crime, and we make sure we provide extensive sports options that appeal to this group, including the use of our weights gym, football, boxing, archery and even karate.

Our fantastic activity programme features arts and crafts, cookery, chess, music production, photography and much more. We aim to enrich young lives by providing our members with opportunities they would not otherwise have and also run plenty of training initiatives which include skills development, work experience and volunteer and job opportunities.

The Club is inclusive and welcoming - a multi-cultural place for the whole community - providing a safe, supportive, supervised and neutral environment for young people to gather

The Role of Our Youth Workers & Youth Hubs

Our amazing youth workers consistently go above and beyond to support our members. All but one is working or studying outside of their work with us. Several volunteer additional time at weekends to coach our football teams and take them to matches. They have used their own time to help members and their families find housing, fill in official forms and provide references for college and work. With most being from the local community and having been Club members themselves, they know the many challenges facing young people in this area.

At St Andrew’s Youth Club, we believe in an integrated, holistic approach to looking after our members and their families. As a Youth Hub we work collaboratively with other youth and community organisations and are part of monthly panel and Integrated Leadership Team meetings at the local Family Hub at the Bessborough Centre, which provides statutory provisions for families, such as social workers, an Early Help Team and health visitors.

How can you help?

The Home Office Select Committee’s report states that “Far more needs to be done to intervene early in young people’s lives, making sure they have safe places to go to and trusted adults to help them and protect them from harm.”

By supporting St Andrew’s Club, you are supporting some 700 members, aged 5 to adulthood, from Westminster and beyond, giving them a safe space to be in an environment that supports and nurtures their development. Click HERE to access our "How to donate" page or contact us Kimberley, our Head of Fundraising on the email below.

You can access the “Advice and Guidance to Parents and Carers: About Serious Youth Violence, Knife Crime and Gangs” booklet from Westminster Council here. There is a great deal of information on the subject, including plenty of helpful links for further support and guidance.

Contact us for more information on the Club, or to find out how you can donate. kimberley@standrewsclub.com

Further Reading/ References:

The Youth Violence Commission Report

http://yvcommission.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/Interim-Report-FINAL-version-2.pdf

London Funders Report

https://londonfunders.org.uk/sites/default/files/images/To%20begin%20at%20the%20beginning_0.pdf

Trust for London – Westminster Poverty & Inequality Indicators

https://www.trustforlondon.org.uk/data/boroughs/westminster-poverty-and-inequality-indicators/

Guardian Online

https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2019/jul/31/action-on-rise-in-youth-violence-completely-inadequate-say-mps

Standard Online

https://www.standard.co.uk/news/crime/half-of-london-knife-crime-carried-out-by-teenagers-and-children-as-young-as-ten-police-figures-a4056596.htm