Mayor's safety pledge to young people

Mayor Rokhsana Fiaz led a minute’s silence in memory of student Sami Sidhom ahead of a community meeting on Monday (14 May) about how Newham can be made a safer place for everyone.

Sami, 18, from Forest Gate, died following a stabbing attack close to his home last month. The public meeting at Durning Hall was called in response to his death and that of a 14-year-old boy who was shot dead in the area last year - writes

Almost 200 people attended the meeting where residents, agencies and organisations involved in tackling youth crime and prevention, including Newham Council, shared and listened to opinions.

Mayor Fiaz spoke of her commitment to dealing with youth violence and having young people at the heart of conversations about the problem.

She said: “My decision to emphasise the importance of youth safety as part of my mayoralty hasn’t been a consequence of the events that we have all been witness to over recent weeks and months; it has been a constant feature in the lives of our young people for some time. Their safety is something we must all drive forward.”

During her first week in office the Mayor’s inaugural event was an assembly for young people staged at Forest Gate Youth Zone where their voices could be heard.

The Mayor told the public meeting: “Young people told me they want to feel safe. They feel that our youth services and youth clubs are important places of safety, but are fearful of being in our streets and in our parks. They accept and have become used to violence.

“But despite everything, they say they are growing up in a borough they love. They embrace its diversity, its vibrancy, and its dynamism, but what they want is to be listened to and want us as adults, be it parents, teachers, carers, or neighbours, to step up and make them feel safe.

“Based on that and what other young people have told me since, I am going to make sure they are round the table with me, designing and delivering together the programmes they want. They will be rewarded and valued for their contribution and I hope everyone will help me to achieve that and help them too.”

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