18 February 2019

On Friday 8th February, our Tackling Youth Violence Network met for their latest meeting, kindly hosted by Youth First at the TNG Centre in Lewisham. Thank you to all of our speakers and to our new Director of Programmes and Partnership, Alex Evans, who chaired the network.

The network, which has been running since 2012, is a unique forum in London that regularly brings together youth workers and other specialists involved in front-line youth violence programmes. It’s an opportunity for youth violence professionals to share best practice, to network and partner, and to connect with politicians and policymakers. The network is primarily aimed at London Youth members, but is open to any organisation or statutory service involved or interested in tackling youth violence in London.

You can find:

  • Slides from the meeting here
  • Notes from previous meetings here

Vicky Foxcroft MP, Chair of the Youth Violence Commission

Vicky, who is the MP for Lewisham and Deptford, joined us to update the network on her work with the Youth Violence Commission. The commission has published its interim report into the root causes of youth violence and has recommended a public health approach and a significant reinvestment in youth work.

Vicky spoke about the frustration she felt about the lack of discussion in Parliament of real change for young people experiencing violence, and how she hoped this was changing since the commission began. Vicky noted that many of the solutions lie with youth workers and others who are on the ground. She expressed interest in working with the network in the future to increase awareness of issues related to youth violence and to push for change.


Mervyn Kaye, CEO, Youth First

Youth First are a community benefit society that spun out of London Borough of Lewisham’s youth service in 2016, as a means to sustain youth work in the borough amid continuing public service cuts.  They operate 14 sites around Lewisham, from where they work with over 11,000 young people each year.

Mervyn spoke about the tragic impact of violence on local young people and communities in Lewisham. He introduced ‘s work and their unique position as a public service mutual,  which is 70% owned by staff and 30% owned by young people themselves.

Mervyn spoke about the funding challenges that Youth First, and many other youth organisations, face. He emphasised the need to diversify funding streams beyond the continuing relationship with the council. He talked about the importance of volunteers to many organisations, but also the need to train and support the next generation of youth workers.


Jake Ferguson, CEO, Hackney CVS

Hackney CVS work on behalf of community groups in Hackney, with a particular focus on tackling inequality. Jake sits on the Partnership Reference Group of the London Violence Reduction Unit (VRU).

Jake spoke about the developments of the London VRU and the draft model for this new public health approach being led by the Mayor’s Office for Policing & Crime (MOPAC). Please see the slides above for more detailed notes on the draft structure of the VRU.

While noting the strengths of a public health approach, Jake highlighted the risks and weaknesses of the current approach. He particularly noted the need for community and youth organisations, communities, and young people to be meaningfully consulted and involved in the structure and operation of the VRU.


Get in touch

Look out for the next Tackling Youth Violence Network meeting in May. If you have any questions, please contact Nicole Bristol-Robinson, Membership Development Officer.

Samuel Howell, Policy Officer