Ariel Shot of Whitgift School showing the sports ground, main building and surrounding area.

Young talent showcase in Croydon fundraising and spreading positivity

Nearly 150 young people are performing at a fundraising talent showcase in Croydon this Saturday to honour those impacted by knife crime.

Each young person is a volunteer for Love Not Hate’s Young Stars of Croydon taking place at Whitgift School.

The event will include dancing and music, as well as demonstrations of boxing and gymnastics.

Councillor Manju Shahul-Hameed, who is organising the event said: “The primary goal for this event is to foster a safer environment for our young people after the rise in knife crime incidents, promoting unity and spreading positivity within our community.” 

The event will also host a panel on knife crime, led by Anthony King, the chairman of My Ends, a project that aims to give the young people of Croydon a space to talk about the issues that affect them. 

The panel session will also include members of families affected by knife crime and Commander Stephen Clayman, the National Police Chiefs’ Council lead for knife crime. 

The event is fundraising for the Civic Mayor of Croydon’s charities The Brenda Kirby Cancer Centre and Duffus Community Foundation, as well as the MSH Foundation for Mental Health.

Love Not Hate is an annual event that has taken many different forms since its inception in 2016, from an online event during the Covid-19 pandemic raising money for Croydon University Hospital to a picnic on John Ruskin College grounds for the Jo Cox Foundation. 

The idea of Love Not Hate came about after the Brexit referendum polarised the borough and Shahul-Hameed had an increase in people raising the issue of hate crime in the area to her.

The chair of the MSH Foundation for Mental Health Toni Letts OBE said: “We’ve always involved young people, and why shouldn’t we? 

 “I want everyone to know that our greatest wealth in this borough are our young people, and we get the young people we deserve.” 

Croydon has the largest population of youth of any London borough with one in four people being under 18.

But in recent years the reputation of youth in the area has not always been stellar as it was labelled London’s knife crime capital. 

Knife crime with injury has decreased according to Met Police data, with knife crime with injury going down four percent between November 2022 and November 2023. 

Letts said: “I think it’s to say to everyone, not just those living in Croydon that the young people that are here, they are tomorrow’s leaders.

“We want to show young people that there is another way of living life whatever you want to do. 

“If you’ve got it within you, you can do it.”

The event starts at 6pm and runs until 10:30pm on Saturday.

Photo Credit: Whitgift School

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