Boris is to give £710,000 of funds to three educational programmes motivated towards deterring youths from “the lure of gangs and criminal activity“. In a statement, the Mayor said:

‘These projects are perfect examples of the youth initiatives we desperately need across London to engage young people. They offer guidance, information and most importantly steer young people away from the lure of gangs and criminal activity.

‘Tackling youth crime is complex and there are no magic solutions but I am determined to make London a safer city for everyone, including young people, who are frequently victims of crime.

‘As well as more targeted policing efforts, to combat these issues we need strong community projects, which are relevant and interesting to young people and schemes that widen their horizons as well as raise their aspirations.’

The three programmes that are to be given funds are Calling The Shots, Watch Over Me and

Calling The Shots – Calling The Shots was introduced in 2005, and has been piloted with numerous groups in the Newham, Enfield, Croydon, Hackney, Southwark, Greenwich, Brent, Haringey boroughs. The website is undergoing re-construction, but the cache of the previous incarnation gives us an insight into what the project may entail.

The initiative was initially developed by the From Boyhood To Manhood Foundation, which gives ‘day-programme[s] of education and self-development‘ to boys “aged 11-19, from all cultural backgrounds who have been excluded from school“. Calling The Shots itself wasa multi-media education and information resource designed to engage young people and stimulate discussion about their attitudes towards guns“.

The Calling The Shots project will receive £200,000 over one year.

Watch Over Me – Watch Over Me is a series ofbroadcast quality soap dramas“, that are shown in secondary schools to “stimulate class discussion and help teachers introduce challenging topics such as terrorism, internet paedophiles and domestic violence“. The GLA website specifically mentions “gun crime, drugs [and] knives“.

The Watch Over Me project will be given £110,000. is, like Watch Over Me, an educational resource produced by The Kids Taskforce. It can be incorporated into drama, IT, PSHE, citizenship and art, and is a “sustained approach to safety education that delivers character-based learning for seven to 11-year-olds“. The programme uses a number of books, which follow Miss Dorothy Com through various scenarious.

The project will be given £400,000 for work with schools from 2008-09.

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