Each year in the campaign for Young Mayor of Lewisham, a key feature of a number of candidate manifestos is a pledge to invest a significant amount of the £30,000 allocated to the successful nominee in youth centres across the borough in an effort to reduce the number of young adults in the area being exposed to dangerous activity, the most high profile of these being gang violence. Recently, however, it seems as though the viability of this option has come under severe threat.

Unfortunately, in Lewisham, a borough where more affordable housing is needed and land is scarce, community centres such as Lewisham Way Youth Community Centre (pictured above) are being closed down or descaled in order to facilitate these developments. The costs of the day-to-day running of the centres, most of which are financed by the council are also said to be a factor in the council’s decision.  However, the ‘Save Lewisham Community Centres’ group says that despite this claim, "the costs of community centres are not high" and some organisers are already bearing the full cost of centres and offers to take responsibility for the rent away from the council have even been rejected.

Perhaps it’s time for those seeking a solution to the violence on the streets of London to look elsewhere. It appears that despite the hard work of the volunteers and youth workers in these local centres, councils under pressure to tighten their budgets such as Lewisham seem unwilling to continue funding these institutions, leaving them doomed to inevitable closure. The question still remains: how do we tackle this issue of street violence involving young people? The answer to that question may not be clear but the fact always remains – it starts at home.