Southwark Young Advisors take top prize at awards ceremony

5 September 2018

Southwark Young Advisors won best Partnership Award at the National Young Advisors Charity Awards recently.

The Young Advisors were nominated by local business groups for their work into improving relations between local businesses and young bike riders.

Areas of Potters Fields Park, More London and One Tower Bridge had become regular meeting points for young people to socialise, ride their bikes and perform stunts.

While the majority of the young people were well behaved there had been some instances of anti-social behaviour.

Initially there was an increased police presence in the area to tackle the problem, while this provided a short term solution it was when Southwark Young Advisors got involved that things started to improve.

Southwark Young Advisors began by training private security teams, gardeners and other management staff about how to best to speak to young people. Part of this also included educating local business on why the bikers were gathering there.

The young people were part of the Bikestormz movement that encourages young people from London and around the country to meet up for social ride-outs and move away from the influence of gangs and crime.

The Young Advisors approached the organiser of Bikestormz to engage with the young people and manage their behaviour.  The result is a valuable partnership between Team London Bridge, Southwark Safe Business Crime Reduction Partnership, Bikestormz, the police, local residents, private security teams, park management and Southwark Young Advisors.

The Young Advisors acted as a ‘buffer’ between security teams and the bikers. This led to better dialogue, allowing security teams to explain why there were no ride zones in certain areas and sign post the bikers to other parts of the borough where they could cycle safely.

Their work has had a positive impact so far and the Southwark Young Advisors are continuing to provide support to local businesses and bikers. 

Cllr Evelyn Akoto, Cabinet Member for community safety and public health said: “This is a fantastic achievement for Southwark Young Advisors. I am incredibly proud that we have such dedicated young people representing the council and doing great work in the borough.

“Southwark Young Advisors have helped change how these bikers are perceived by the local business community. Not only that, they have had a measurable impact on anti-social behaviour and calls to the police as a result. Our Young Advisors are a credit to their managers here at the council, to the borough and most importantly to themselves.”

Henry Johnstone, Business and Operations Manager from Team London Bridge, who nominated Southwark Young Advisors, said: “The whole process has been superbly managed by Southwark Young Advisors who have carefully nurtured relationships and maintained excellent communication to deliver a project that was initially treated with a degree of scepticism by some. The exercise has been a demonstration in how empathy and dialogue- two factors that the Young Advisors promote so well- can be effective in resolving social issues. We are so glad that this partnership has received the recognition it deserves."

Page last updated: 05 September 2018