21 February 2018
Moving accounts from an ex-gang member and parents trying to tackle gang culture were heard by over 70 parents and professionals attended the first One Life, No Knife event in North Kensington. They were also joined by the Leader of the Council, Cllr Elizabeth Campbell, Lead Member for Communities, Cllr Mary Weale and police cadets
The aim of the event was to hear from those people lives have been directly affected by knife crime, the police, community support services and experts in the practical steps that can be taken by families to safeguard their children. There was also an opportunity to speak to those presenting afterwards.
Raffaele D’Orsi, the borough commander, spoke about the need for a partnership between the police and public in order to try and prevent knife crime and to help young people out of the situation if they end up in it.
Abraham Junior Udofia, an ex-offender who now speaks to young people about ways out of gang culture gave a moving account of his experiences and the need for young people to have others they can connect with showing them there is a better way than knives and gangs.
Suzella Palmer a mother and academic spoke about the challenges young people, parents and teachers can face in dealing with young people who may be excluded from school or become disconnected with the school system.
Kelly Reid, from Parents Voice was also speaking about the support parents need. Much of the work being done throughout the country targets young people, but if parents don’t understand what is happening and how they can help their children and speak to them about the issues, it makes it much harder to for them to provide as much help. Kelly also gave advice about how to spot potential problems that could indicate a young person is being pulled into a gang culture.
Cllr Mary Weale, Lead Member for Communities for Kensington and Chelsea Council, said: “It was a moving and fascinating event packed full of really useful information. What Abraham had to say about the challenges of getting out of gang culture and the need to have people to whom young people can relate and who are prepared to listen to and guide them is vitally important. It was also clear from the meeting that we need to support parents to understand the issues their children face so that their children feel that they can speak to their parents about these difficult issues.”