Mother of murdered teenager launches new leadership award


The mother of a Croydon teenager who was shot dead at a Streatham party 12 years ago is launching a new award to honour inspiring community heroes.

The JAGS Foundation, which was named after James Andre Godfrey Smartt-Ford, who was killed by two gunshot wounds aged just 17, was set up by his mother, Tracy Ford, in memory of him. 

Now the JAGS Foundation is hosting an awards night to celebrate people making a difference in their communities. The awards are this Saturday, on what would have been James’ 30th birthday.

The Outstanding Community Heroes Awards aim to celebrate inspirational young people in London and tackle what Ms Ford described to the Evening Standard as “negative self-image”.

The awards will include categories on outstanding educational achievements, outstanding young men and women, high achievers and services to youth.

Talking to the Evening Standard, Ford said: “Through JAGS and the awards, we want young people – especially young black children – to realise that they can achieve financial freedom without resorting to negative perceptions of what they can become.”

The foundation says it aims to “fundraise to empower and build the resilience of children in London.”

The JAGS foundation report that in November 2019, at the time of writing, there have been 33 teenage deaths.

In 2018 there were 135 murders in London. More than two fifths of victims were men under 30. Nationwide, 2018 was the fourth worst year for knife deaths among under-20s on record.

The JAGS foundation runs a variety of programmes and events, from fund-raising galas and female only user-led projects, to bereavement support and school awareness-raising workshops.

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