Thursday, July 02, 2009

Redeeming Our Communities

I went to a great event at the Liverpool Arena a couple of weeks ago, organised by the Merseyside Police (the SIGMA team in the main part I think) and faith groups, working at reducing gun and knife crimes, particularly those that affect young people.

About 4000 people from churches and faith groups all round Liverpool were in attendance along with about 200 police and a group of civic leaders and other "dignatories" (I do hate that word), to watch young people perform song and dance and to hear from upteen projects who work with young people to engage with them.

We heard from street pastors who go out on the streets after midnight and clear away glass so people don't hurt themselves or use bottles as weapons, and help drunken girls get home - thousands of them now across Britain. The Eden programme where youth workers move into empty houses in deprived areas to make sure they are always around for the young people... I certainly learnt a lot. Manchester turned itself round almost completely after they had a similar event. Only 3 shots have been fired in the first 5 months of this year, I think they said, in Manchester, which is gobsmacking.

It was great, loud and fervent and very motivating. I sat with Cllr Steve Rotheram and Ann O'Byrne and waved to our local neighbourhood offices in the next block of seating.

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