Last Thursday, 13th October, Neetu and Kieran accompanied our PCC, Rupert Mathews, to the Belgrave Road, to discuss local issues with our local partners.
We met in the lovely Chai Pani restaurant and were joined by Cllr Nita Solanki and Dinesh Chauhan a voluntary youth worker. We shared with Rupert how, we had been working together, to develop and deliver regular sports sessions for men, which helped build bridges between communities and gave the young men a sense of purpose. The meeting was taking place in the aftermath of the recent clashes between gangs of youths, and whilst the Diwali celebration that followed had been a huge success, there were still concerns in the community.
People are worried about what happened, and we have to be careful to not jump to conclusions or blame one section of the community for what happened, rather we need to focus on building bridges between communities and giving young men positive opportunities to develop in our communityCllr Nita Solanki
Nita also shared how important language was in building bridges and highlighted that for example many people who mainly speak in Gujrati, cannot read Gujrati, so we needed Gujrati speaking officials and police who deal directly with the community, as translated leaflets cannot be read.
Dinesh shared how with the support of Nita and Neetu he was providing regular sports sessions for young men. As always funding was an issue and currently everything was being run mainly on good will with some support from the city council, the Silver Star Diabetes foundation and Leicestershire cares. In addition to the established sessions, Neetu was exploring with the local police and community leaders how Leicestershire cares might support young Daman man, who since arriving in Belgrave had often felt isolated from the mainstream community.
I think sport is a good carrot, with which we can engage these young men and we can build on these sessions to help integrate people and build bridgesNeetu Squire Head of Community Development, Leicestershire Cares
Rupert was keen come back and visit the sports session and encouraged the group to apply to the OPCC for a community safety grant.
We are committed to supporting young people and the community in Belgrave and through our links are also keen to involve local businesses in developing local provision, and we hope we can build on our partnership with the OPCC and VRN, so that we have a real local movement for positive changeKieran Breen CEO Leicestershire Cares
More info on sports work we are supporting Belgrave https://www.leicestershirecares.co.uk/about-charity/news-events-/back-of-the-net/
More info on our Power to Change Approach https://www.leicestershirecares.co.uk/about-charity/our-approach/power-to-change/