The timing of this partnership couldn’t be any more vital as gang violence and youth crime have made the headlines in Milton Keynes with five murders in the last six months.
“We are not after creating any competition for funding, but we are after people working together. We are very much looking for gaps and opportunities where groups can work together to create solutions.” said Ian Revell, Milton Keynes Community Foundation Chief Executive, announcing the partnership.
Representing the Thames Valley Police at the event, Problem Solving Team members, discussed the community outreach, youth engagement and early crime prevention initiatives taken by the police force in the last year, before opening the floor for stimulating group discussions facilitated by Fola Komolafe MBE.
While the participants recognised targeted voluntary sector initiatives, new arts and sports incentives, and partnerships between youth groups as ongoing positive work across the city to combat gang violence, they also highlighted several challenges.
These include the defeatist narrative around knife crime as well as lack of a real strategy and coordinated partnerships. Other issues highlighted were lack of youth service provision, scarcity of opportunities for children in exclusion as well as young people’s distrust in authority and disillusionment with youth services.
Workshop participants were not only passionate about preventing knife crime, but also keen to work together. Community development, early prevention, stronger partnerships between community groups, schools and the police were all recognised as key areas of improvement.
With follow-up workshops planned in early 2020 to support collaborative solutions, Milton Keynes Community Foundation looks forward to driving this exciting partnership forward.