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Tackling youth racism in East London

To combat the increasing and potentially explosive racial tension in the Thamesmead area in East London, Working with Men launched its preventative ‘ID Project’, targeting boys and young men in the area. The project set out to quell tensions between the predominantly white working-class community and migrant groups through education, intervention and interaction. The project aimed to change attitudes and challenge the perceived stereotypes of young men in the area to prevent racist violence and improve links between communities.

Funding was secured from the Trust for London to employ a project worker who would make contact with various groups by visiting schools and local youth clubs. Projects such as discussion groups, creating films about the diversity of the area, football matches between different ethnic groups and establishing an unofficial drop-in centre were then introduced to help change perceptions and break down boundaries. The project also encouraged local youths to leave their familiar surroundings and visit other areas of the city.

An external evaluation after the first three years showed that more than 400 young men and boys had engaged with the project; in the last 18 months that has grown to 750.  Surveys of participants in the scheme have shown that their understanding of identity has increased significantly, compared with a control group who had not taken part.

The ID project has now secured two more years funding from the Trust for London. This will enable Working with Men to develop training programmes for teachers to incorporate elements from the project into the school curriculum and extend the scale of the project.

Working with MenSally Mehta
Operations director
Working with Men
Unit K308, Tower Bridge Business Complex
100 Clements Road
London SE16 4DG
Tel: 020 7237 5353
s.mehta@workingwithmen.org
Charity no: 1102451

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