CHIPS Big Give Christmas Challenge: From Pandemic to Peace!
Midday Tuesday 1 – midday Tuesday 8 December
Update 8 December
Meet Marvin: “I can see a future for myself for the first time!”
When we met Marvin at school, he was angry and disruptive. By his own admission he was always getting into trouble and had already been arrested once. Through our group mentoring, he began to open up and talk about the challenges he faced. And through one-to-one discussion, we helped him identify his anger triggers, develop coping mechanisms, consider changes he could make, and understand his personal strengths.
As we reached lockdown, he was managing his behaviour much better and showed positive signs of change. He expressed a desire to engage more at school, asked for our help in setting up a work experience placement and had begun to consider his future for the first time!
Youth violence on the rise again
Recently, two men were stabbed in the street outside our office in Brixton. We were working with young people outdoors on the estate when it happened. Fortunately, our team members were able to lead the young people to safety and help one of the injured men to get assistance. Tragically, the other 20-year old man died later in hospital.
This reminds us that the causes of conflict haven’t magically disappeared because of lockdown, and that the cycle of violence is escalating again as restrictions slowly ease.
Building a peaceful community after Covid
For many years, Lambeth has suffered one of the highest rates of serious youth violence in London. We see every day how this blights the whole community. It kills and injures young people. It’s linked to lifetime under-achievement for perpetrators as well as survivors. And it destroys mental wellbeing, quality of life and community cohesion for everyone. Sadly, it also has a disproportionate impact on those already marginalised.
We also see every day the poverty and inequalities that lead young people to choose a life of violence. These have only been accentuated by the pandemic. This year we’ve seen the hardship, trauma and mental health challenges as lockdown arrived, schools closed and parents lost jobs or found themselves with no recourse to public funds. At the same time, the Black Lives Matter movement has helped shine a spotlight on some of the injustices many people in Lambeth live through every day.
It doesn’t have to always be this way. We know from our work in Brixton over the past seven years that change is possible. We’ve seen it happen. Disruptive students re-engaging with their education, frustrated young people seizing opportunities to develop as future community leaders, local families connecting around a common cause to drive change.
As we approach a new year, we believe it’s more important than ever to tackle the root causes of youth violence and work together to build a brighter and more peaceful future.
Meet Abdoul: My experience has helped me see the positivity in life”
Abdoul, age 22, is a young parent living in South London. He’s currently doing a course in youth work to better his professional life and has spent time with CHIPS this year, gaining practical experience as a young leader at our youth club and as a mentor. He helped organise group trips, creative activities, and virtual events for young people during lockdown. He’s also been checking in with them individually and giving them words of encouragement.
Abdoul says he’s been inspired by how engaged the young people have been. Seeing them smile and explore their creative side, and helping them better their lives, has really motivated him to continue and develop as a mentor and youth worker. During the year, Abdoul has lost friends and family members due to various reasons. But he says that his work with CHIPS has given him the drive he needs to push to the finish line with his course – as well as to see the positivity in life despite the challenges all around.
Could you support the future of our project?
In this year’s Big Give Christmas Challenge, we’re seeking to raise £20,000 – the amount we need after other sources to take forward our work tackling youth violence in 2021.
The money we raise will go directly to our project in Brixton and Lambeth, with a focus on our community organising work and, in particular, helping fund the salaries of our youth workers and other frontline peacemakers.
Donating as an individual
The value of your donation to our campaign will be DOUBLED at no extra cost to you, thanks to our backers The Childhood Trust and The AS Trust.
For example, if you donate £10, we’ll receive £20 and if you give £100, we’ll receive £200, meaning your gift will have TWICE the impact this Christmas!
You can donate quickly and easily using the buttons on this page. To be eligible for match funding and have your donation DOUBLED all gifts must be made online by card, between midday Tuesday 1 December and midday Tuesday 8 December only.
Donating as a business
Whether you are a sole trader, or part of a small or medium size business, you can now QUADRUPLE the value of your donation!
All business donations up to £500 made to our Work For Good page during the campaign will be doubled by Work for Good. They will then also be eligible for match funding by The Big Give.
For example, if you donate £50, we’ll receive £200 and if you donate £500, we’ll receive £2,000!
To make a business donation, go to our Work for Good page, click on the ‘donate now’ button to pledge up to £500, and then complete the sign up process which is quick and straightforward.
To be eligible for match funding and have your donation QUADRUPLED, all gifts must be made online by card or BACS, between midday Tuesday 1 December and midday Tuesday 8 December only.
More about our plans for 2021
At the start of this year, 150 Lambeth residents and local organisations came together to discuss youth violence. Participants identified poor services as the biggest root problem, particularly highlighting the limited resources schools have to provide support and the exclusions process. In terms of solutions, most participants said we need to build a stronger sense of community, including listening to young people, building deeper relationships and showing them more love and care.
To tackle youth violence in 2021 we will partner with families and young people across three of the area’s major estates; with students at risk of exclusion in Lambeth secondary schools; and with a core group of families who are particularly struggling as a result of the pandemic.
We will listen carefully to understand their frustrations and concerns. We’ll help them identify the issues they care about most, partner with them and empower them to make change happen – in their way, on their terms and in their neighbourhoods. As we help them channel anger into positive action and bring opposing groups together, we will tackle the causes of violence together and build a more peaceful future.
Meet Rosemarie: “I wished my mentoring sessions would never end!”
We immediately found Rosemarie to be very outgoing, but she admitted that she got frustrated very easily and faced challenges at home. As a result, she had run away before and been excluded multiple times from school. In our weekly group mentoring sessions, she appreciated the space to talk and said she wished they wouldn’t end.
She learned to manage her emotions better in the heat of the moment, began to think about where she wanted to go in life, and told us proudly that she’d begun to engage more in lessons. We were encouraged to hear from the school later just how much her behaviour had improved.
All our people stories are inspired by real examples from our work. Names, personal details and photos may be changed to protect privacy.
Donations will be matched while funds last, midday Tuesday 1 December to midday 8 December only.