Tuesday, April 10, 2018

I am with heavy heart about the deaths of humans in recent days in my London town. Especially young people.

I am with heavy heart about the deaths of humans in recent days in my London town.
Especially  young people. 
Just about starting their lives.
AND then by knife or other weapons - 
they loose one precious life.

My friend Arkle Bell put his experiences into words far better than I could.


"Knives, baseball bats, knuckledusters and guns. 
Over 40years involved in urban youth work none of this is new to me. 
In Birmigham in 74 as a student I met a young man 
straight out of prison with a long scar from the centre of his head 
down to almost his nose, 
this was the result of gang warfare, 
an axe to his head. 

A fellow student opened the youth centre door and 
lying there was a bleeding corpse with his stomach chopped out. 
Little has changed and the fiction of Pinkie Blinders 
has been lived out day by day in towns and cities around the world. 

For many it's part of the maturation process to belong, 
to be sustained by peers.
I've seen similar situations in Hong Kong, 
the Philipines and South Africa. 
Conversations with colleagues around the world echo the stories. 

Much of the healing comes from those who can stand alongside on a daily basis. 
In the UK youth and community workers offer this, 
not as a task force but a daily presence in the same community 
with the same young people, 
offering support, activity, social education and much more. 
Who else can spend three or so hours a day dedicated to the lives of the same young people.
In the UK a fully funded Youth Service both statutory and voluntary with long term outcomes over at least 10years is the way forward not the 3years or less demanded by current funders.

The Jesuit saying - 
give me the child and I will give you the man - 
was not a 3 year target."