The mother of murdered teenager Jimmy Mizen has said efforts to stop children carrying knives are “counter-productive” while calling for a different approach to knife crime.

Margaret Mizen, who is gearing up for this year’s 21 Bridges walk in memory of her son, told News Shopper young people need to feel valued in society.

Jimmy Mizen died aged 16 on May 10, 2008 when he was attacked with a glass dish in the Three Cooks Bakery just around the corner from his home in Lee.

After his death, Mrs Mizen and her husband Barry set up the charity For Jimmy in his memory, to steer young people away from violent crime.

News Shopper:

Jimmy Mizen was killed when he was just 16 years old

“The charity came from a promise I made to Jimmy on the night he died. I promised him two things.

Firstly, that we would do anything to keep his memory alive. Secondly, that we would dedicate our lives to making children safe,” the mother-of-nine said.

The For Jimmy charity was founded to keep young people safe, which Mrs Mizen says is “at the forefront of everything we do.”

One of the charity’s schemes is its Safe Haven programme, which encourages shops and cafes to designate their premises ‘safe’ for children who believe they are in danger.

“We want young people to have a safe place if they’re in trouble. We work in schools to take pupils past the gates and into shops.

“They ask the shopkeeper if the shop would be a safe haven if [the pupil] was in trouble, and if they would call the police,” Mrs Mizen explained.

If the business agrees to be a Safe Haven, they put a poster in their window to let young people know.

READ MORE: Shop owner plays listening role in campaign against knife crime

“It’s a really, really simple concept. It’s about rebuilding the community – about the shopkeeper getting to know the children; and the children getting to know the shopkeeper.”

The Mizen family also gives Talks for Change to schools across the country to tell children the story of how Jimmy died.

They tell pupils about Jimmy, who Mrs Mizen describes as “a gentle giant – a kind, lovely boy who loved his family.”

They also tell pupils about Jake Fahri, the 19-year-old man who killed Jimmy – and whom the family has since forgiven. At the end of the talk, the Mizens encourage pupils to be the change they want to see.

Referring to the rising level of violent crime among young people, Mrs Mizen said telling children off for carrying knives is “counter-productive".

“Clearly something’s not working at the moment, so let’s try a different way.”

According to Mrs Mizen, pupils are often very responsive to For Jimmy’s message.

READ MORE: James Brokenshire taking on 21 Bridges Challenge in memory of Jimmy Mizen

After a visit to Jimmy’s old primary school, St Winifred’s Catholic School in Lee, Mrs Mizen described being approached by a group of children in Year 3 and 4 who had collected their pocket money to raise funds for For Jimmy.

“They had raised about £134. It touched me so much,” she told News Shopper.

For the last six years since what would have been Jimmy’s 21st birthday, For Jimmy has organised the 21 Bridges walk across bridges of London to raise money in his memory.

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The 21 Bridges walkers are given a yellow t-shirt when they register to take part

Participants can choose from three different routes. The longest stretch runs from Richmond to Tower Bridge and the shortest runs from Southwark to the same point.

The Mizen family will be taking on the challenge on May 25 along with other participants, who are given a yellow ‘For Jimmy’ t-shirt to wear on the walk.

Mrs Mizen said: “It’s exciting to see the event growing year-on-year and we want 2019 to be the biggest and best yet.”

Players from Sidcup RFC have signed up to the challenge, and Mrs Mizen hopes to get more teams on board to raise money for the work of For Jimmy.

“We really are a charity like no other,” she said. “Children are very precious and we need to do all we can to protect them.”