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No one cares about us, say teenagers on the walkways

‘There isn’t anything to do on estate’ so young people hang about alleyways to avoid cameras

15 June, 2018 — By Samantha Booth

Councillor Asima Shaikh speaks at Wednesday’s meeting

A GROUP of teenage boys on a Finsbury Park estate have made a plea for more youth facilities near their homes.

The Town Hall, police and youth workers met residents at a public meeting this week after the fatal stabbing of 20-year-old Kwasi Anim-Boadu on the Andover estate in April.

Beth Kilminster, a youth intern working with St Mark’s Church, in Moray Road, brought the concerns of a group of 12 teenagers to the meeting at Andover Community Centre.

For the last 18 months, the centre has opened on a Friday night, with times extended from Easter to include older children.

Residents at the meeting called for the space to be open on other days, and volunteered their own time to help youngsters who gather on the estate.

The young men – aged from 14 to 23 – said: “There isn’t anything for us to do and anywhere to go”.

A passage, read out by Ms Kilminster on Wednesday, explained that they hung about in alleyways because it was the only place on the estate where they were not watched on camera.

“Would you like your every move to be watched?” they said. “We understand that residents could find it intimidating when they see a group of us and when we see that or are asked to move we move on.

“We would all prefer being in walkways than being on camera. Is a camera going to stop one of us from getting killed?”

They said the cameras had not prevented Mr Anim-Boadu, from Camden, being stabbed or the death of 21-year-old An­drew Jaipaul, stabbed 25 times as he walked through the estate in June 2011.

They added: “We have had people say that they’re going to help us but they come and go. No one cares about us.

“We need a space that we can go to when we don’t have school or we are not getting on with our parents or carers. We need help getting jobs.”

Ms Kilminster, who said her team’s resources were “at capacity”, called on parents and residents to help. The Friday night session is run by St Mark’s Church, paid for through the council’s voluntary and community sector fund.

Pledges were made at the meeting to look at how effective CCTV coverage is on the estate. Bolton Walk was identified as a hotspot area for problems with anti-social behaviour.

Finsbury Park councillor Asima Shaikh said she and her fellow ward members had invested time in getting the centre open on a Friday.

She added: “We know we need more youth space on more days of the week. We are trying to find ways of doing that.”

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