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Hornchurch charity helping fight knife crime awarded £27,000 grant from Health Lottery

PUBLISHED: 15:00 29 July 2019

Bolaji Olagunju of You and Me Counselling.

Bolaji Olagunju of You and Me Counselling.

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A Hornchurch charity working with families to tackle rising levels of knife crime has been awarded more than £27,000 by an east London health lottery.

You and Me Counselling was awarded £27,180 from People's Health Trust with money raised by The Health Lottery in London East to provide a peer support group for parents and carers in the community.

The weekly parent-led project offers peer support and allows members to speak freely about their experiences as a parent or as a guardian.

Bolaji Olagunju, the charity's development manager, said: "Raising children can be hard at the best of times, but especially when children may be facing their own issues.

"Many parents feel powerless when they see their children struggling; they simply don't have the tools and strategies to help their children.

"In areas where there is high crime, young people can get caught in the trap of youth crime, gangs or violence.

"At the project we find that by sharing parenting experiences and coping techniques, parents can communicate on a better level with their children.

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"By creating feelings of belonging, parents are able to build stronger relationships and family foundations.

"One of the members said to me, as parents we need to change too.

"It's not about blaming young people.

"The project has taught me how to reach a mutual respect with my children and this in turn has built stronger and more loving family relationships at home."

The project, founded by Bolaji back in 2011, also goes into schools to speak to students, as well as offering parents and carers an escape.

Health Lottery London East has raised nearly £8million in funds to support 272 projects to date in the region, which includes parts of London and Kent.

Martin Ellice, The Health Lottery's joint managing director, said: "We're delighted to support projects like You and Me Counselling which make such a marked difference in the local community and most importantly within the family unit - which is so important."

"Without your support it would not be possible to fund these charities and I have every confidence that we will push the overall total raised beyond £8m this year in London East."

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