‘Youth Crime in Croydon’ and ‘Croydon Knife Crime’ are headlines that are sadly never far from the front pages.
But there are people like Eliza Rebeiro who are fighting to ensure that the young people of Croydon hit the headlines for the right reasons.
Through the charity Lives Not Knives (LNK), which she founded in 2007, Eliza is working with the borough’s youths to encourage them to choose life as opposed to picking up a knife.
Eliza was only fourteen when she decided to take positive action against the impact of gang and crime culture on her environment.
LNK recruits and trains youth mentors to deliver programs in schools focused on the dangers of getting involved with gang-related activities and youth violence.
Since April 2011 the project has delivered activity programmes to over 2,500 students.
Charity HQ is a fabulous 10,000 sq ft unit housed within Centrale – Croydon’s premier shopping destination.
This space is used for a whole host of events including music sessions, employability workshops, art exhibitions, and even a retail outlet for budding entrepreneurs with start-up projects to promote.
There is also a state-of-the-art IT suite used for after-school coding clubs and as an open-house facility for young people to job search – with LNK mentors on hand to offer advice on pathways into traineeships, apprenticeships, work experience and employment.
East London Lines spoke with a number of participants and employees of the project, including staff member Kenneth Owusu:
East London Lines also spoke to Jack Kew, 18, a LNK volunteer:
For further information about the work of LNK and how you can get involved with the project you can visit their website here.