Sadiq Khan frees up £45 million funding for youth services that could benefit Barking and Dagenham

Mayor Sadiq Khan. Picture: PA.

Mayor Sadiq Khan. Picture: PA. - Credit: PA Wire/PA Images

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has opened the door for community groups in Barking and Dagenham to apply for funding for youth services.

Last week after Hasan Ozcan, 19, was stabbed to death in Barking some residents on the Gascoigne Estate complained that a lack of activities and opportunities for young people was exacerbating youth violence.

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has pledged £45 million towards activities for young Londoners to help tackle to root of crime and to put 1,000 more police officers on the streets of the capital every year.

Rising crime levels, particularly violent crime, coupled with “eight years of sustained Tory cuts to our police and criminal justice system, as well as cuts to vital youth services and education” has forced Mr Khan to take action, he said.

This is being paid for with money raised from business rates, something usually used for stimulating economic growth.

Mr Khan has blamed this “unusual step” on the Conservatives, saying that is having to plug gaps created by cuts.

30 youth centres serving 12,700 people have closed since 2011, he claimed in his Labour List article which he used to make the announcement.

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A total of £22 million has been taken away from youth services by central government, he said.

Community groups, youth centres, charities and schools can apply for two-thirds of the allocated funding.

The remaining money will be used to fund projects already supported by City Hall.

“For many young people growing up, especially those from deprived and disadvantaged communities, these services and activities are crucial. I know from personal experience they help to give young Londoners a sense of direction that enables them to stay on the straight and narrow when they might otherwise be at risk of being sucked into a life of crime,” he said.

“Wherever I go in London, communities tell me that young people need more to do – and I agree. I’m not going to stand by whilst the Government turns its back on London’s young people – the very Londoners who are most likely to suffer from the national rise in violent crime.”