This blog is to capture all articles relating to good work including initiatives and successes with regards to gangs (predominantly in London), but also good news stories involving young people more generally.
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Wednesday, 20 June 2012
Desperation is driving Hackney’s young into gangs, warns Leona Lewis
20 June 2012
Leona Lewis has warned that young people in east London are being driven into gangs by “desperation and boredom”.
The 27-year-old star, who grew up in Hackney, has been working with under-privileged youngsters in the area after being moved by poverty levels there.
She called on the Government to give more money to social services and community groups.
Lewis has signed up as an ambassador for a BBC project which aims to help 10,000 Hackney teenagers.
She has been holding mentoring sessions at Radio 1’s Hackney Academy and working with teenagers from a Pupil Referral Unit in Newham.
Lewis, who will perform on Sunday at the Hackney Weekend festival, said: “It’s one of the poorest areas in London and money is the root of a lot of the problems. There is a lack of money in the education system and community projects — things to make the community feel good.
“I have a lot of family members who work in social services and they have seen so many cutbacks. They are working on minimum wages and they’re dealing with some awful social issues. They really need help.
“There is a lot of crime — a lot of it is out of desperation or boredom. There’s nowhere for [young people] to channel their energy so it’s easy for them to become involved in gang culture.”
She added: “I’d like to be more involved. My mum had a community centre for girls in Islington and I’ve always admired her for getting involved in the community. So if there’s anything I can help out with in the future, I’d love to.”
The X Factor winner told how she had to lay down the law while helping four teenagers record their music. “It was hard, I don’t like confrontation,” she said. “They played me their track, thinking it was the best thing since sliced bread. I kind of had to say, ‘No, it’s not that good because you guys weren’t working properly.’ I gave them a reality check and they took it on board.”