In our latest Thought Piece, our former Interim CEO Tracy Pepper shares her perspective on the importance of community to the work of Fight for Peace.

“Whilst Fight for Peace’s core mission focuses on working directly with young people at our Academy in Newham, I want to shine a light on a key aspect of our work that is just as essential in making a difference to young people’s lives – community.

We know that there is great power for change when a community discovers what it cares about, and, at Fight for Peace, through the ACT-AS1 Collective, we work across Newham and the surrounding boroughs with our partners to help communities discover what’s important to them, facilitate conversation and enable action. 

There is a saying that a true community is not just about being geographically close to someone or part of the same social or business network. It’s about feeling connected and responsible for what happens.

And, when we feel collectively responsible, there is great power in coming together to act.

We are privileged to have been supported by MOPAC, The Violence Reduction Unit, the Mayor of London’s office and many foundations and supporters who believe in our work to give young people the best chance possible in life and stay away from violence and crime. One of the ways we do that is through engaging with our community.

Their funding enables us to support and work with our key partners such as Ambition Aspire Achieve, Exit Foundation and Rights and Equality in Newham (REIN) and many more, to spend time in the community, listening, understanding and creating solutions to the social and economic challenges communities face right now.

ACT-AS-1 partners and young people coming together for a Community Link Up event

Working together this way ensures that every pound invested matters and counts. There is no duplication of effort by multiple agencies, every partner knows their lane and plays to their areas of expertise.

Our community involvement reaches across local schools, with parents, local business owners, other sports organisations and charities, and community and religious groups.

Here are a few examples of the things ACT-AS-1 is doing right now in the community: 

  1. Creating employment opportunities through provision of a Neighbourhood Wallet providing funding and advice to small business for start up;
  2. Providing Saturday Schools for young people who need extra help in the school curriculum;
  3. Providing youth safety, stranger danger and online safety sessions in primary schools;
  4. Responding collectively to serious incidents in collaboration with the London Borough of Newham detached team, having a presence in hot spot crime areas and engaging with peers to reduce the risk of increased violence;
  5. Carrying out research with young people that are directly or indirectly impacted by violence or crime to establish where funding should be prioritised.

In conclusion, what we know is that on our own at the Fight for Peace Academy we can achieve great things, but working collectively in our communities we can achieve even greater things.”

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