YEP Says, March 4: Offering a route out of gang culture

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Members could often flourish if given right opportunities.

WHEN children grow up in families that lack positive role models, there is an understandable temptation for them to seek a sense of belonging elsewhere.

But this isn’t the only factor feeding gang culture, an issue being tackled through events such as that held in Leeds yesterday aimed at ending youth and gang violence across the city.

Research shows that ‘community disorganisation’ – in other words problems such as high unemployment and crime rates in the local area – has more impact on children than parenting.

A cycle of low aspiration and limited opportunities, coupled with a poor education and lack of guidance can make the false security offered by gang affiliation seem an attractive proposition.

But all too often this leads young people into a life of violence which it often seems all but impossible to leave. There is not only a need to show youngsters the pitfalls of gang culture but also that there is a route out before it’s too late.

Many gang members are bright and creative individuals who could flourish if given the right opportunities. Punishment must be meted out where serious crimes are committed, but equally the key to ending gang culture lies in identifying those who are at risk of taking this path and reaching out to those who are already travelling down it.

Evie’s Way serves as inspiration to others

DIAGNOSED with Crohn’s Disease last year, Evie Addelman has wasted no time in raising money for charities working to help sufferers like her and carry out research into the condition.

She has already passed the £1,500 mark and won backing from famous names thanks to her Evie’s Way website and its candid but touching account of her experience.

What makes Evie’s efforts all the more remarkable is the fact that she is only nine.

This brave little girl is busy proving just what can be achieved in the face of adversity. Her story offers inspiration to anyone facing hurdles in their life.

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