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Hundreds search out music, sport and positivity in first Dagenham Youth Unity Day

PUBLISHED: 17:00 24 June 2019

The Youth Unity Day team. Left to right: David Peters, Mike Amara, garage MC CKP, Jon Gildersleave, Shirley Jackson and Fergie from Dagenham rugby club. Picture: Daura G.

The Youth Unity Day team. Left to right: David Peters, Mike Amara, garage MC CKP, Jon Gildersleave, Shirley Jackson and Fergie from Dagenham rugby club. Picture: Daura G.

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Getting young people together and helping them be constructive and positive is Youth Unity Day's goal.

Street artist Ben Eine came to the event to show his skills. Picture: Daura G.Street artist Ben Eine came to the event to show his skills. Picture: Daura G.

Hundreds of people went to Dagenham's Central Park on Saturday to experience food, art and sport at the new community event.

Set up by businesswoman Shirley Jackson, 52, she was tired of seeing the negative headlines around the city's young people.

She estimates around 1,300 came to see what was on offer.

In that were 380 footballers in 54 teams. West Ham is planning to scout for talent at the next Youth Unity Day.

One of the goals was to draw young people away from violence. Pictured is Vanessa Hyman, whose 17-year-old son Anton was murdered in 2004. Picture: Daura G.One of the goals was to draw young people away from violence. Pictured is Vanessa Hyman, whose 17-year-old son Anton was murdered in 2004. Picture: Daura G.

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There were around a dozen musical acts and celebrated street artist Ben Eine painted at the event.

"[The show is about increasing the] awareness that there are a lot of good kids out there and talented children," said Ms Jackson.

David Peters, 50, is Ms Jackson's business and life partner.

Hundreds of young footballers from across London came to compete. Ms Jackson said West Ham is interested in using the event to scout for new talent. Picture: Daura G.Hundreds of young footballers from across London came to compete. Ms Jackson said West Ham is interested in using the event to scout for new talent. Picture: Daura G.

"If you save one young person, that one could save another ten and that ten could save another hundred," he said.

"One of those kids out there - six years old or nine years old or twelve years old - they could be our next prime minister."

Ms Jackson said she is committed to returning Youth Unity Day to Dagenham next year.

Her ambition is to make it the biggest youth event in the UK.

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