Croydon community group sceptical of Sadiq Khan’s ‘public health’ approach to violence

A Croydon community group is doubtful that it will see any of the £500,000 set aside to fund London Mayor Sadiq Khan’s new approach to tackling violent crime.

Mr Khan announced last Wednesday that London would adopt a ‘public health’ approach to tackling violence at its root by supporting vulnerable young people at an early stage.

Donna Murray-Turner, founder of Another Night of Sisterhood (ANOS), a community group committed to reducing youth violence and knife crime in Croydon, is sceptical that the group will ever see financial support through this new scheme.

She believes that community groups are often left to cope with the aftermath of oversubscribed support services in their areas, with limited finances.

She said: “It’s alright us filling the gap but if nobody is going to fund us to fill that gap then all the programmes that we write are non-sustainable.”

She added: “It’s not about the great ideas, it’s the sustainability of the great ideas.”

Ms Murray-Turner urged Mr Khan to consider the successes of community groups before deciding who will receive a share of the £500,000 set aside to deliver his public health approach.

She said: “What Sadiq Khan should set up before he gives away the money is some sort of tool of measurement, a body that will go out and evaluate.

“How are they impacting? Do they meet regularly? What’s their consistency level like?”

According to a report by the House of Commons Library, to the end of March 2017, Croydon had a 103% increase in knife crime incidents on the previous financial year. This is the largest proportional rise in incidents in London over a 12-month period.

Mr Khan said: “The causes of violent crime are extremely complex, involving deep-seated societal problems like poverty, social alienation, mental ill-health and a lack of opportunity.”

He added that more should be done to support organisations including community groups to drive down not just knife crime, but all forms of violent crime.

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