Mayor of London urged by young Londoners to tackle crime and poverty

Young Londoners today called on Mayor of London Ken Livingstone to tackle bullying, racist crime and child poverty through his children and young people's strategy.

Young people from the Office of Children's Rights' Advisory Board and The King's Fund Imagine London programme gathered at The HMS Belfast, near City Hall, to urge London's political leaders to make the city a safer and healthier place. They handed Deputy Mayor of London, Nicky Gavron, a health manifesto from The King's Fund and a child-friendly action plan from the London Children's Strategy Group to mark World Children's Day.

The King's Fund manifesto calls for a greater police presence on streets, a crackdown on gun crime, and for drug education to be provided by outside experts and ex-users, who really understand the dangers, rather than teachers. The London Children's Strategy Group action plan says child poverty and homelessness must be tackled and also asserts the need for a children and young people's adviser to be appointed in the Mayoral cabinet. It also call for a Young Londoner's Forum to be established.

Jayshree Pithia, a 19-year-old student who took part in The King's Fund Imagine London programme, said:

'We want to change London and make it a safer place for children and young people. Bullying, racism and poverty are ruining lives. We want the Mayor of London to take our concerns seriously. Hopefully the manifesto and action plan will make a real difference.'

The King's Fund chief executive Rabbi Julia Neuberger said:

'Many of the proposals made in the two documents would make London a healthier city for everyone, not just young people. It is crucial that these views are taken on board by the Mayor of London. Young people have shown what a valuable contribution they have to make to public policy.'

Notes to editors: 

The King's Fund's Imagine London manifesto and the Action Plan for a Child-Friendly London, developed by the London Children's Strategy Group, will be launched at The HMS Belfast, moored at Morgan's Lane near City Hall, from 12.30-2pm on 20 November 2002. Speakers will include Nicky Gavron, Deputy Mayor of London, and Georgios Sklavounos, President of the Association of Child-Friendly Cities.

The Imagine London manifesto for health and well-being in the capital was produced by more than 2,000 young Londoners through the King's Fund Imagine London programme and a subsequent King's Fund/ICM poll. It lists 18 top priorities for change across the broad themes of transport, environment, crime, healthy living and emotional well-being.

Action for a Child-Friendly London is a project of the London Children's Strategy Group, a coalition of over 120 organisations in London committed to the full implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. The Action Plan outlines proposals for change across a broad range of areas and calls for these proposals to be brought forward in the Mayor of London's draft Children and Young People's Strategy.

For copies of the Imagine London manifesto or the action plan, please contact Kate Healey at the King's Fund on 020 7307 2669.

Journalists and photographers are cordially invited to the launch. There will be an opportunity for a photo shoot at 2pm. For further information please contact Daniel Reynolds on 020 7307 2581 or 07831 554927 or Andrew Bell on 020 7307 2585.