London Road, which one council-appointed official described today as “Croydon’s crime capital”, is one of eight areas in the capital to receive a share of £6million-worth of new funding from the Mayor of London’s Violence Reduction Unit.
The Violence Reduction Unit’s MyEnds programme has “been developed to put communities at the forefront of tackling violence by giving them the support they need to deliver locally designed interventions in areas of the capital that are affected by high and sustained levels of violence”, a statement from City Hall said.
As well as London Road, among the areas to receive funding are the Angell Town, Loughborough and Moorlands estates in Brixton, and Southwark’s North Peckham, Rockingham, Brandon and Aylesbury estates.
Each community network will receive up to £750,000 funding to April 2023, as well as ongoing support from London’s VRU.
“In some parts of London, violence is often concentrated in small areas, such as an estate, a cluster of streets, or a main road,” the statement said. “The MyEnds programme will give communities the backing they need to develop their own initiatives to bring about change in their neighbourhoods, and to provide positive opportunities for young people living in the area.
“The VRU recognises that those closest to the issues should have a central role in bringing about change needed to make neighbourhoods safer and to tackle the complex causes of crime.”
The successful West Croydon bid includes areas which were at the centre of rioting in 2011, and where there have been additional police officers deployed for the last fortnight, following a spate of stabbings.
The bid was put forward by a consortium brought together by Croydon Voluntary Action.
In the 12 months up to the end of September 2020 there were 1,135 crimes committed in the London Road area. This is a 13 per cent increase compared to the previous 12 months, when there were 1,009 crimes. The largest proportion of offences in the area were violent crime (31 per cent) followed by drugs (19 per cent) and theft offences (16 per cent).
With MyEnds funding, Croydon Voluntary Action says it will work to reduce violence by:
- Providing diversionary activities for young people including sports, arts and cultural activities like the London Road Carnival to engage young people from local schools
- Delivering mentoring and careers advice at the local schools and running a volunteering scheme with the Youth Offending Service
- Bringing grassroots partners together within a Community Hub model to advise parents on benefits, debt, evictions and help towards training and employment support services
The head of CVA, Steve Phaure, said, “This part of London Road has long been known as Croydon’s ‘crime-capital’ – but it’s also the gateway to our town centre, an exciting cultural quarter and home to a strong grassroots sector.
“MyEnds provides us with an opportunity to build on this area’s strong sense of community and – by working more creatively with our Police, NHS and council partners – not just reduce violence on London Road but really get to grips with its underlying causes.”
Sadiq Khan, the Mayor of London, said: “The underlying causes of crime are complex and deep-rooted, made worse by a decade of government cuts to policing, youth clubs and community services.
“I’m committed to being tough on crime by investing more in policing than any other Mayor, and tough on the causes of crime by funding hundreds of positive opportunities for young Londoners in high crime areas of the capital.
“I set up London’s Violence Reduction Unit – the first in the country – to lead a public health approach to tackling the causes, and while it’s positive that violence fell both before and during the pandemic, it’s clear there is more to do.
“The VRU is committed to tackling violence before it occurs. Investing in programmes like MyEnds is about putting communities at the forefront, supporting them and giving them the tools they need to drive down violence and make our city safer for all Londoners.”
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