Businesswoman creates a 'one-stop shop' event to tackle knife crime
PUBLISHED: 14:19 07 June 2019 | UPDATED: 14:23 07 June 2019
A businesswoman has created a 'one-stop shop' event for children, charities and people who need help to tackle knife crime.
Shirley Jackson is the brains behind Youth Unity Day which will take place in Central Park in Dagenham on June 22.
The 52-year-old, who lives in Hornchurch, runs marketing and events company Conscious Links and wants to use her entrepreneurial skills to enable people to work together and create a united front against knife crime.
She said: "What I've found [in my charity work] is there are some great organisations across London, across the UK, but the message isn't getting out that these people exist.
"There are also great resources for young people. Those resources are free to go to, but again the message isn't getting out there that these programmes exist and help parents and children alike."
This isn't the first Youth Unity Day. Ms Jackson ran one in 2017 in Hackney.
Mainly a football event, its goal was to get young people from different postcodes playing together.
The football is still a major part (Ms Jackson's expecting 54 teams from across the capital), but she's since grown her aspirations.
"Knife crime is in our face constantly and it's such a negative, negative, thing to happen. But it is just a small pocket of people that are doing this.
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"We need to empower the young people that aren't in gangs, and then hopefully draw the ones that have been pulled into it, away from it.
"We're bringing all these grassroot organisations, charities, youth workers, youth support workers - by pulling them all together, we're hoping this can become the start of one of the biggest youth events in the UK."
To help draw in young people, workshops from art and disc jockeying, to employment and CV writing will be on offer to improve their skills.
Among the attractions is Ben Eine, the celebrated British street artist, who will be showing his work and reportedly looking for fresh talent.
Ms Jackson is trying to help the charities that help young people as well.
She plans to run networking and training events to grease the wheels for organisations trying to do good.
But even businesses who run for profit have helped make Youth Unity Day possible. Ms Jackson says that all of the tents, artists and even security have been donated to the cause.
Youth Unity Day is at Central Park in Dagenham on June 22 from 12pm.
It is a free event, but you have to register beforehand at eventbrite.co.uk/e/conscious-youth-unity-day-registration-57436219278.