"If you ask most kids my age their view on the police, it would be negative because of bad experience. London Tigers helped me change my opinion and those of my peers. Our youth worker organised a residential for us with the police. They brought in mediators and people like Neville Lawrence, the father of Stephen Lawrence, to help us understand the importance of working together to create a safer community."
Shahed Miah - Aged 18
Many issues in society arise out of dissonance between groups of people. London Tigers believes that to create a harmonious society to live in, we need people from different backgrounds to engage, understand and support each other.
London Tigers organises a variety of events and projects that pull together the community, create meaningful interaction between people and foster positive relationships. London Tigers works closely with the local community, housing associations and other bodies including the police to achieve this.
Our Church Street Unity Festival in partnership with the Metropolitan Police and others brought together over 400 people from different walks of life to give a clear message of ‘one community, one voice’. Parents, children and young adults from various backgrounds joined together in a carnival atmosphere that had a football competition, barbeque, police helicopter, police horse, face painting, knife amnesty and more.
The wide variety and number of sports teams, leagues and activities that London Tigers runs across the country help bring together people from different backgrounds. These platforms for informal interaction between people help break down barriers and stereotypes in a more subtle, yet equally effective, way.
We also have specific programmes to address issues of radicalisation and extremism, developing people’s understanding of theological issues and training them to become active citizens and positive leaders in their communities.
In another flagship project, local older residents who used to file complaints against young people were invited to a community barbeque organised by London Tigers Youth Club. Over food the two groups shared their common concerns about the local area and generated better understanding of each other. A direct result was that the number of complaints dropped as both groups learnt to respect and understand each other.
Community safety is one of London Tigers’ top priorities. Two of our Westminster based youth clubs are in the heart of some of the most deprived wards in the country. Youth crime in these areas is particularly high, e.g. 38% of Westminster’s gang related offences took place in and around the areas where the youth clubs are based.
This presents a number of challenges for us an organisation and also for local young people, as gang culture in these areas is inextricably linked to gun and knife crime. We are working in partnership with the local authority, Met Police and other key stakeholders to begin to address this problem and to also ensure that a sufficient number of diversionary activities are in place.