Taking the rap?

I really want to blame someone for the increased knife crime and the rise of those violent moped thieves in our beautiful capital city. I’m also looking for someone to take the rap for the proliferation of gangs selling drugs to our young people. And why are more and more of our children suffering from mental health issues, when over half of them will have three cushy years at university, they’ve all got the latest fancy phones and own at least ten pairs of expensive trainers?

I’m thinking it might be the schools fault? They get fourteen years to turn our children into good citizens and useful workers, and have clearly failed. But then it occurs to me that the police only exist to keep us safe so it must be down to them, right? But, ‘what about the parents?’ I hear you scream, why don’t they bring up their children properly?

While we’re at it, did you know that over 40% of young males in Hackney carry a knife, 90% of children have been bullied online, there are more types of ‘legal highs’ on the market than craft beers, and 65% of children in Lambeth are growing up in single parent households? Also, amazingly, according to police figures, every London primary school has at least six children who will go on to be radicalised online.

I made those statistics up but it makes you think? Or does it? What do you really think? Do you think that the world has never been more exciting or never more scary?Do you think that our society, and perhaps the whole world, has never been more divided or never more connected?

Or do you wonder how the most disengaged, scared and marginalised of our young people, who are currently drawn into gangs and other self-defeating life styles, make sense of their future? How they get good advice about creating a happy and fulfilling life and start to feel the thrill and motivational energy of being a success?

That’s what we provide for young people and we use sport and dance to start the conversation and to keep it going until they’re off and running. And interestingly, we have twice as many adult Londoners asking how they can make a difference by supporting us with mentoring, fundraising or using their networks to create new opportunities for our young people, as we did last year.

I didn’t make that statistic up but it makes sense, don’t you think?

Andy Sellins, CEO, The Change Foundation