Page last updated at 21:48 GMT, Tuesday, 29 July 2008 22:48 UK

Mayor's 700,000 for youth crime

The announcement came from the Mayor Boris Johnson during a visit to a youth project in Brixton

A 700,000 funding package has been announced by the mayor of London to help tackle knife and gun crime among young people.

The money will fund projects which hope to steer youngsters away from violent crime, said Boris Johnson.

The announcement follows a spate of high-profile deaths of young people in London. So far this year, 21 teenagers have been killed violently in London.

The mayor said he hoped the money would raise aspirations among youths.

The new funding will be put into two programmes - Calling The Shots, run by The Boyhood To Manhood Foundation, and Watch Over Me, run by the Kids Taskforce.

Educational programmes

They are both aimed at tackling gun and knife crime through educational programmes.

A third project, also run by the Kids Taskforce initiative, will teach seven to 11-year-olds about personal behaviour, crime and safety.

Speaking at the Brixton Road Youth Centre in south London, Mr Johnson said: "Everyone knows what the root causes of youth crime are and everyone knows what the solution is.

"It's a question of how we get from here to there. It's about giving young people boundaries and discipline."

Labour Assembly Member Jennette Arnold said the announcement was a credit to the hard work of those involved.

"They have demonstrated that they are best placed to intervene and support our young people - especially those most at risk in some of our most challenging communities," she said.

Miguel Beia, a mentor at the youth centre, said it helped turn his life around. "My life would have been devastating without the youth centre," said the 18-year-old.

"I would have been involved in gun crime. If not dead, then I would have been in prison."

Mr Beia, who grew up on Brixton Road's Cowley council estate, recently completed an internship with the Bank of America and is studying at university.

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