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LSE student wins top London award for her work with vulnerable youth

 

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A 20-year-old LSE undergraduate law student, Temi Mwale, has been named London’s Young Person of the Year for her work to address youth violence and keep young people out of gangs.

 The Camden resident, who is in the second year of her law degree at LSE, was presented with the award by a member of David Cameron’s cabinet last weekend in a lavish ceremony in the East End. 

The award reflects Temi’s long-standing campaign to stem gang-related crime among London’s youth, an issue close to her heart after growing up on a Barnet estate where youth crime was rampant. 

For years she saved newspaper articles about gangs and violence so she could better understand the issue and when a childhood friend was shot and killed in 2010, it motivated her to launch Get Outta the Gang in 2012. 

The community organisation, which is staffed by Temi and a handful of helpers, works with vulnerable young people who have been involved in violence or are at risk. Young people are given help with personal development, training and jobs and can take part in a range of workshops. Get Outta the Gang also holds events, vigils and protests in response to youth violence. 

To date, more than 1000 young people have attended the workshops and with a new contract to work in 22 primary and secondary schools, this number will swell to around 3500. 

"I started doing this work when I was 16,” said Temi, “and the organisation is completely youth-led, so being recognised as a role model for young people is really humbling. 

 "Whilst I am grateful to be acknowledged personally, I am really happy that this award has put the spotlight on Get Outta The Gang and the critical work we do to tackle violence. “ 

“Gang culture is a very complex issue,” she told the audience at last weekend award’s night. “I believe that it will be most beneficial to focus on the violence, as it is a symptom of many other things that are not addressed, such as trauma."

International Development Secretary Justine Greening MP praised Temi for “taking a stand and making a difference in an extremely problematic and potentially dangerous area”. 

Temi was shortlisted from hundreds of entries across London and judged by a 50-strong panel that included London MPs, borough mayors and the Greater London High Sheriff who represents the Queen. 

Temi shared the prize with a young woman from Uxbridge who has set up a club for disabled children. 

 25 November 2015

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