Surrey FA Host Youth Violence Event at Selhurst Park
Experts join London and Surrey grassroots football clubs to tackle knife crime
Leading experts on gang culture, youth violence and knife crime joined grassroots football clubs from across south London and Surrey for a special event at Crystal Palace FC’s Selhurst Park on Thursday 17th October.
The evening reflected on the growing issue of knife crime and youth violence and how football can be a force for good to engage and inspire young people at risk in the city and its surrounding areas.
Among the speakers were representatives from the London Mayor’s Office and leading charities Growing Against Violence and St Giles Trust. Also joining them were staff from the Palace for Life Foundation.
Alongside the presentations was an opportunity for the audience of club liaison officers from grassroots football clubs including Sutton United, Carshalton Athletic and Croydon FC, to network and share best practice.
Phil Rendell, designated safeguarding officer at Surrey FA, said: “Tonight’s event was a great opportunity to highlight the vital role grassroots football clubs play in diverting our young players away from involvement in youth violence. The evening has been a huge success in connecting club officials with key organisations who can support our young people outside of football.”
Precious Tamuno, from St Giles Trust, said: “This Surrey FA Networking Event is so essential as it brings together the community in the eyes of sport, raising topics and concerns about young vulnerable people who could be at risk to several issues within our local area. St Giles is a charity using expertise and real-life past experiences to empower people who are not getting the help they need, people who are hard to engage because they have been failed time and time again - held back by poverty, exploited, abused, dealing with addiction or mental health problems, caught up in crime or a combination of these issues and others.”
Aaron Johnson, Palace for Life Foundation’s targeted intervention officer, said: “Mentoring and supporting young people who are on the verge of the criminal justice system is one of our key priorities at Palace for Life Foundation. We use the power of the Palace badge to help divert them into more positive pathways. Understanding the risk factors that contribute to young people turning to crime is vital and I’m delighted that Surrey FA are helping to educate coaches and officials about these challenges.”