1000 Hands City Safe Haven Human Chain (NB - Scroll down for video footage)
On Friday 2nd December, on Crofton Park High Street, Lewisham over 800 people (of which 600 were school children from eight schools) came together to celebrate the CitySafe Haven campaign. 15 roads were closed, MP's, Mayors, Councillors, Police Chiefs, local churches, temples and Mosques, businesses, local residents and the police helicopter all came together as a community to declare "This is our community, these are our streets, these are our shops, this is a city safe haven, this is OUR city safe Haven".
The City Safe haven campaign is based on the principle of bottom up, community led change. On Friday 2nd December this community came together and positively claimed their community as their own.
City Safe is a campaign organised by charitable alliance CITIZENS UK and LONDON CITIZENS. It grew out of the loss of twelve young lives in CITIZENS institutions across London and is dedicated to Jimmy Mizen. Launched at the O2 in 2009 in front of 2,500 young citizens it has established over 250 Safe Havens across the capital, including Lewisham Town Hall and City Hall.
The shops in the Crofton Park ward, Honor Oak, Brockley Rise, Brockley and Brockley Cross have over the last two years taken part in the City Safe Haven Scheme. St William of York, Dalmain, Stillness, Turnham, St Mary Magdalen, Brockley, Prendergast Vale and Prendergast Ladywell Fields College have worked with their local shops and community to sign up over 50 shops. The children try and visit the shops several times each term to build and strengthen community relationships, there is also now a Brockley City Safe Newsletter which is published twice a year.
There have been over 10 incidents this year where a member of our community has asked for a safe haven in one of the partner shops.
The human chain formed around the shops along Brockley High St, by Crofton Park station. The formed was made up of over 600 pupils who held hands with Barry Mizen, CSI Graham Price, Lewishams Deputy Mayor Deputy Alan Smith, Heidi Alexander MP for Lewisham East, local Councillors Pauline Morrison and Jackie Addison, the young mayors team Malcom Ball, Katy Brown and Emmanuel Hawks, the Lewisham Community Safety team, Sarah Eaglestone, Lewisham Council, Lewisham Pupils Ambassadors team, Kan Shapiro, Helen Lucken, Ashley Thomas and Isabell Valente, members of St Hildas and St Andrews church, Lewisham Mosque, Neasden Hindu temple, Lewisham Somali community, shop owners, Phil Turner of Second Wave, London Citizens, members of Lewisham Mounted division and the police helicopter, India 99.
Thank you top all who made this event possible, particular thanks to Lewisham MET for keeping us all safe.
Camilla Yahaya, 15 years old. Pupil of Prendergast Ladywell Fields College, Young Citizen, and lead organiser of the 1000 Hands event.