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June 18th, 2010

Worries and Fears

I wanted to introduce you to another young person, he is 17 lives in Poplar and comes to Canaan Project to our weekly session, as you can see from the photo he enjoys football! We sat down for a 10 minute conversation, I would say this is longest I have talked to him and this is what came out of that conversation:

I began with asking what’s it like living and going to school on the Teviot Estate?

He said it was quiet and boring, meaning there is nothing to do. He then went on to say it was a crappy area, and there was nothing to do, apart Canaan Project – and even that is not open often enough. He felt that Canaan Project was important because Youth Workers can have a big positive impact especially in stopping crime (I can honestly say, none of this was prompted). He more generally felt the area could do with some improvements, there is a site on the Estate which he thought was run down and needed some improvements, in terms of buildings. I then asked, would he like to leave the area, he said ‘Yes’ and that his mum already was trying.

We then began a conversation about the people in the area. He said that young people are always fighting people from different areas, although he was clear this was not something he was involved in. He cited an example of when at school once some young people from a different area jumped over the school fence with knives aiming to start a fight in the school. We also had a interesting conversation about bullying in school, he felt it was not taken seriously unless weapons are involved. He said ‘Young People carry Knives – FACT’. I asked him about walking in the area at night he said he felt it was dangerous, I asked why, he said with people from different areas and thieves, and he always hears stories of people getting stabbed in the area.

We then started an interesting conversation about the EDL (English Defense League) that are meant to marching on the East London Mosque soon. He said he was concerned about racism and people getting and being attacked from racist motives. This march has been a conversation point with a lot of young people for the last couple of weeks.