Stella Creasy, MP for Walthamstow, spoke with clarity this morning highlighting the growing tragedy of young children dying of knife crime. Those who are killed are the tip of an iceberg of a disenfranchised generation who feel that society does not value them. They turn to creating their own subcultures of gangs as an alternative way to gain what a lot of us take for granted: a sense of belonging; a sense of purpose and meaning to their lives; an ability to gain power and wealth which they see around them elsewhere, and which is generally beyond their grasp.
We know from our experience working with over 6,000 children at Jamie’s Farm that many of these children crave positive change. Gang violence, crime, mental health issues and a lack of motivation can be diverted if we work with the whole child and let them aspire to a culture of care and endeavour.
We know intervening early prevents a huge amount of subsequent damage to individuals and communities, and ultimately saves lives. Children have shown us that they want to develop their positive social selves. They need chances to experience themselves as successful, caring, thoughtful people. They crave a sense of belonging, inspiration, aspiration and optimism. For this they need the chance to feel safe in nurturing environments, to be challenged to find new strengths and a chance to feel valued and capable.
Our programme of Farming, Family and Therapy is powerful in part because of its simplicity. It has been identified by the young people themselves that many of the things they end up seeking in gangs – a sense of belonging; a sense of pride and purpose; an environment that meets their basic needs – is what they get at the Farm. This simple, integrated approach needs to be replicated elsewhere, and when it is, these young people can really flourish.
You can listen to MP Stella Creasy speak on the BBC Today Show here at 2:47:30
Written by Tish Feilden, Founder & Lead Therapist