TELCO (The East London Communities Organisation), part of the national community organising charity, Citizens UK, this morning celebrated with local school students, McDonald’s staff and Savills, as the Stratford Centre became a CitySafe Zone.
CitySafe is a community led campaign to make our streets safer, and was founded following the tragic death of Jimmy Mizen in 2008.
More than 600 buildings across the capital have already signed up to be a part of the CitySafe Haven network, which was set up by Citizens UK to ensure there are safe places where young people will be given refuge if they are feeling threatened or in danger.
The announcement today follows a successful trial of the CitySafe project with the Stratford Centre branch of McDonald’s during 2013.
Emmanuel Gotora Citizens UK’s lead organiser in Newham said:
“The team at McDonald’s and the Stratford Centre have responded to local young people who asked them to get involved and become CitySafe Havens. More than 20 staff joined pupils from Alif Academy to get training in how to be a safe place for a young person who might be feeling threatened.
“The young people of Newham are working with Citizens UK to improve their local neighbourhood and make it a safer place for everyone. They are getting out there and building important relationships with businesses and the Police.”
The Stratford Centre has now become a CitySafe Zone, and will display the distinctive purple CitySafe logo across the centre, identifying it to young people as somewhere to go when they feel at risk and need somewhere safe to go. Security staff at the centre are now all trained to help anyone who lets them know if they are feeling threatened.
Amjad Hussain, McDonald’s said:
“We take our role in the life of local communities seriously. When the pupils, working with Citizens UK, approached us to be part of the CitySafe campaign, we felt it was the right thing for us to get involved with.
“Staff at our Stratford Centre branch have received training and are working with the young people to make sure McDonald’s is seen as a place where they can enjoy their free time, safely.”
As part of the celebration CitySafe Champion Awards were presented to a number of local young people who have worked in their schools and communities to promote safety and co-operation. CitySafe Ambassador, Capital Xtra’s DJ Abrantee, supported the event, using music to help celebrate the progress of the CitySafe Campaign.
Lee Gleeson, Savills, managing agents, Stratford Centre said:
“It’s brilliant to be able to recognise and celebrate the good work of the young people, working with Citizens UK. They have convinced us through their professional approach that being a CitySafe Zone is the right thing to do to help local young people feel safe when they are out in the area.”
Citizens UK’s young members are continuing to build more Havens and Zones, working tirelessly to make stop the deaths of their friends on the streets of their city.