From my ends to your ends…

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Our work tackling youth violence in Brixton received a major boost recently when, together with seven other local community organisations, we were awarded funding from the Mayor of London’s Violence Reduction Unit.

This forms part of the Mayor’s My Ends programme which provides support for neighbourhoods that are experiencing higher than normal levels of violence. The funding recognises that the Coldharbour Ward where we are based remains one of Lambeth’s most violent wards with one of London’s highest rates of serious youth violence together with high unemployment and poor mental and physical health.

Along with seven local charities, we have therefore established a new partnership, Ecosystem Coldharbour. Each of us are well-respected community organisations with experience leading violence reduction initiatives locally and we all bring our own unique strengths while sharing a deep commitment to our community.

Together, we will use the funding to strengthen our community and build its resilience. Andrew Jackson, Director of CHIPS explains: “Our strategy for the CHIPS Brixton project remains unchanged and will continue to centre on community organising and mentoring young people through our different channels. However, through this partnership, we are excited that we will be able to increase our impact and bring a Christian, peacemaking approach to a wider sphere of work locally.”

Some of the new initiatives we will partner on include:

  • Recruiting a new collective of passionate local ‘young connectors’ who will become the next generation of changemakers with the right skills, experience and relationships to make an impact on reducing youth violence and trauma
  • Providing 1-2-1 support for young people around wellbeing and mental health
  • Creating new meaningful opportunities for young people that act as diversionary activities giving them positive paths away from violence
  • Supporting a network of grieving mothers and families impacted by youth violence

Our contribution at CHIPS will include hosting a Youth Outreach Worker who will focus on the hotspots in the area for violence, gangs and anti-social behaviour, and providing one of a number of safe spaces for young people to go after school – which can be a time when many find of them themselves at risk.

There are two narratives told about Brixton. The first is of a vibrant, diverse place brimming with energy, ideas and passion. The other is of a dangerous, divided place struggling with violence, poverty and anger.  The vision for our partnership is to ensure that, for our young people and future generations, the first proves to be more powerful and attractive than the second.

“We are thankful for this opportunity to be part of a new approach connecting the many pockets of experience and innovation within the Brixton community, and to be working with other organisations who share a passion for ending youth violence,” says Andrew. “Please pray for a successful start to the project, and for us at CHIPS as we bring our Christian peacemaking approach to this exciting work!”