School patrol: a focus on positive engagement

The Bugle sits down with Asher Senator and Serena Nalty-Coombs to hear more about Code 7 and their new project Lambeth Schools Patrol which launches 9th September.

Code 7 is a Lambeth-based charity set up in 1996, that provides troubled young people with free development through music and performance; many of those who attend are self-referred by word of mouth.

“Currently we are running our summer sessions which last for four weeks. The young people have to come up with the idea for the summer workshops, pitch for funding and run the classes. This year they won best presentation from the Young Lambeth Coop. You can hear them in there recording now!” explains founder Asher.

The services are oversubscribed and heavily reliant on volunteers. Young people travel from all over the borough to access the Code 7 services and after an initial induction are able to use the studio space, mentoring service and participate in multiple projects.

Serena describes the encouraging atmosphere they create at Code 7, “At Code 7 we celebrate all positive achievements for example if a student is repeatedly late to school but for a week makes it in on time, they will receive a certificate for that achievement. It’s about the life skills you are learning by managing your time and getting to school on time, when you are older you won’t be able to keep a job if you are consistently late. We also have a project called Global Graduates which offers leadership development and professional networking for young people who are failing to maximise their potential.”

Code 7 is currently located in Springfield Community Centre, Union Road. “We are looking to expand and possibly relocate” says Asher, “These are discussions we are currently having; it takes a lot of time to gain trust with the young people and so the idea of moving is a difficult one for some who attend regularly.”

The Lambeth Schools Patrol is the latest project from Code 7 and aims to provide “a positive befriending opportunity for young people to connect with trained volunteers who will positively interact, guide, support and educate young people outside of the context of a problematic intervention.”

Asher continues “This is a community-inspired project developed as a result of broad public consultation in partnership with the Brixton Improvement District (BID) and the Lambeth Green Man Skills Zone.”

During the public consultations it became clear that the local community wanted a positive response to youth violence in the borough.

“We are focusing on positive engagement – 95% of young people do not commit crime! We have a holistic approach to youth violence, which means providing guidance, making them feel welcome, letting them know what other opportunities are happening in the local area that they can be involved in. It’s about coming at things from a different angle.”

“We have had a great response from volunteers who want to be involved in the project” Serena continues “– and we are still recruiting! Our volunteer training commences this week and involves workshops on personal safety, safeguarding, first aid, interacting with young people and sessions with the Met Police. And all training will be accredited for the volunteers.”

Serena explains “Lambeth Schools Patrol is part of a bigger project we are working on called ‘More Love’ which involves working in estates and equipping the community and residence with tools to engage young people.”

Lambeth Schools Patrol will take place between 3pm – 5pm on weekdays along the Brixton high street, from Windrush Square to the Brook Advice Centre, where Transport for London report that more than 20,000 young people of secondary school age travel during term time.

If you would like to be involved in the project contact Code 7 on 020 7998 1531 or visit https://www.code7.live/lambeth-schools-patrol

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