Linklaters and ELBA: Tackling serious youth violence is everyone’s business

On 28 June Linklaters and social mobility charity ELBA (East London Business Alliance) hosted a special round table event for businesses and grassroot organisations on the role businesses can play in tackling the pressing issue of serious youth violence and knife crime.

Attendees from major banks and financial services such as State Street, Macquarie, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group and Société Générale, transport operators, law firms, insurance and media companies, were joined by community organisations* from across east London which engage with young people to steer them away from violence and turn their lives around.

As part of the event ELBA launched its new, "Everyone's Business" initiative which sets out an action plan to address youth violence based on the voluntary and business sectors working together. This will include prevention work in schools; extra support for young people at risk of street violence and knife crime; business expertise to build capacity in grassroots organisations; support for communities; and identifying work and enterprise opportunities to support young offenders.

At a time of unrelenting bad news about incidents involving young people, the event brought together businesses from the City and Canary Wharf to share ideas on how the business community can respond to this epidemic and to give them practical ideas on what they can do.

Businesses heard from keynote speaker Lib Peck, Director of the Mayor of London’s Violence Reduction Unit, from Chief Superintendent Sue Williams, Hackney and Tower Hamlets Police, and local organisations working with young people.

Linklaters has taken a particular interest in this serious topic – having themselves dealt with tragedy, losing an employee, Tom Ap Rhys Pryce, to street violence in 2006. The Tom ap Rhys Pryce Memorial Trust also attended.

Alexandra Beidas, Linklaters partner, and Chair of firm’s London Community Investment Committee said

“We have seen firsthand the impact that youth violence can have on families. It wastes lives needlessly and we have hosted this event to engage our fellow businesses in thinking how employers can contribute to the effort we all need to make. We hope to put extra momentum behind the practical efforts that businesses are already making – but which need to be stepped up and coordinated with the work of others to have most impact.”

Ian Parkes Chief Executive of ELBA, said:

“We are blessed with some amazing grassroots organisations who have great skill in re-engaging young people in a way that schools, the Police, local authorities cannot do. They need help to deal with the business side of running an organisation, and that’s just one way in which we can help. Mentoring, experience of the world of work and ultimately, jobs, are all within the realm of the support that business can give.

“Everyone's Business" is based on the belief that every sector will need to be involved in finding solutions to knife crime and youth violence. The business community is already playing a part – but could do more, and wants to do more. There are many ways in which business can build on what is already being done and make a very powerful contribution - from prevention work in schools and with young people at risk, through to offering opportunities for young people who want to turn their lives around, and practical support for voluntary organisations and charities.”