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Islington mum issues knife crime challenge

Rachael Box is calling on professionals to give an hour of their time to give advice to disadvantaged young people

15 February, 2019 — By Calum Fraser

Left to right: Janeal Williams-Lauder, Chiehanna Bennett (both teens who use LVN), Rachael Box and Olayinka Sobitan-Solomon (LVN employee)

A MOTHER is calling on members of the public to donate an hour of their time to help fight knife crime.

Rachael Box was appalled when her daughter came home from St Mary Magdalene Academy, in Liverpool Road, Holloway, talking about knife crime in the area.

The mother-of-two setup London Village Network (LVN) in a bid to get professionals in London to spend an hour of their time mentoring children from disadvantaged backgrounds.

Ms Box, 43, said: “Children want adults to be adults. Don’t try and ‘be on their level’. Just show them what you do and they can create their own future.

LVN colleagues at work 

“They say it takes a village to raise a child. Well, the village is broken at the moment.”

Last year, four men, aged 20 to 25, were knifed to death in Islington.

Former St Mary Magdalene pupil Nedim Bil- gin, 17, died in a stabbing in Caledonian Road, near Tilloch Street, on January 29 this year.

“England is not a war-torn country,” Ms Box said. “How on earth can this be happening? It should not be normal for a child to stab someone with a great big knife.

“I think too many people think it is someone else’s problem. Let the kids kill each other. No, we need to take some responsibility for these boys and girls.”

LVN is an Islington-based networking service that links young people looking for job options with professionals in different industries.

Trained youth workers mediate the meetings between volunteers and children.

Ms Box said: “The police, social workers, youth workers, council workers, they’re all just firefighting. They don’t have time to have the conversations that are needed.

“Most of us have time to give. Just don’t go on another pointless Tinder date one night and instead speak to a child who wants to learn about the work that you do.”

LVN is hosting an open day at the Business Design Centre in Upper Street on March 1.

Ms Box said: “Most of the knife crime is caused by a small number of people.

“There are some really entrepreneurial kids out there, but they’re broken inside. One girl told me that it’s like there is a party going on around them, but they know they’re not invited.”

LVN works in partnership with the Arsenal Foundation and more than 160 students from City and Islington College, who will be helping on March 1, when there will be music from BRB and Dante.

Tickets, which are free, are available at www. eventbrite.co.uk if you search London Village Network.

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