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Day of Hope celebrates Damilola’s legacy

News   •   Dec 07, 2020 19:16 GMT

[Victim]: Damilola Taylor

The Met and the rest of the Hope Collective have marked the Day of Hope, the culmination of the Hope 2020 campaign - 20 years on from the killing of Damilola Taylor.

On Monday, 7 December – a day that would have been Damilola’s 31st birthday - the Met recognised the new annual Day of Hope on social media, which will celebrate our youth. The 20th anniversary campaign is dedicated to young people and their aspirational stories of ambition and hope. Last week various virtual events were hosted in the run up to the Day of Hope to equip young people with skills to both educate and inspire including wellbeing, equality and enterprise training.

10-year-old Damilola was tragically killed in an act of unprecedented violence in Peckham in 2000.

The Hope Collective, a group of organisations who recognise the need to work together to support our young people, includes UK Youth, the Rio Ferdinand Foundation, the Co-Op and several other partners. This year all have been working together towards the same goal of shaping a positive future for our youth. Richard Taylor, Damilola’s father, has been heavily involved in the campaign and its promotion.

Hope Ambassadors are young people leading the way who share their aspirations for the future. Read their stories here:

The Met is focussed on providing opportunities for young people at risk of becoming involved in violence. Since 2019 DIVERT, a custody intervention programme, has worked with more than 1,000 young adults who have received information, advice and guidance. Social initiatives such as KickOff@3 work to increase engagement and trust between young people and police by holding football tournaments and sports such as cycling. Recently, 12 Youth Problem Solver officer posts have been created to resolve local youth related issues, from serious violence to children in custody.

Assistant Commissioner Helen Ball said: “I am proud that the Met is part of the Hope Collective and involved the wider Hope 2020 campaign.

“Tackling violence is our top priority and engagement and diversion work forms a vast part of that. Every death is a tragedy. We will continue to work closely with partners and our communities to find ways to prevent people, particularly the young people, from getting involved in activities or a lifestyle that puts them at an increased risk of having their lives cut short so needlessly. We remain committed to giving people the chance to turn their lives around.

“The important work of the Hope 2020 campaign has encouraged so many organisations to come together during an unprecedented year and focus on the positivity and potential young people bring to society. That is just amazing.”

Ndidi Okezie, CEO of UK Youth and secretariat of the Hope Collective, said: “There is a lot said about the challenges that young people are facing and so often the stories that we hear about are negative. Their voices, their hopes, their everyday life experiences are just missing from the conversations. That’s why the Day of Hope is a pivotal moment in challenging the negative narrative. I am proud that UK Youth is the secretariat for delivering the Day of Hope annually. I am most proud of the young people who are leading the campaign. Young people are telling us loud and clear that they remain hopeful and inspired by the everyday things their peers do. They deserve our active partnership and support to make their hopes a reality.”

Gary Trowsdale, Damilola Taylor Trust Legacy campaign Director, said: “The 20th anniversary legacy campaign was designed to bring people together from every nook and cranny of society. We were delighted that the Metropolitan Police and London VRU were the two statutory agencies that signed up immediately to support and become part of the Hope Collective. What does the Hope collective represent? What it says on the tin!

“Having such an eclectic mix of youth sector charities, corporate organisations, statutory bodies and brands committed to the Collective has given us the confidence to plan for the Day of Hope as an annual event and we really think that can be a major asset to society and the objective goal to keep young people safe.

“Damilola dreamed of being a doctor. All young people have dreams. This campaign is dedicated to all those young people we have lost too young. They all had dreams and sadly like Damilola they were denied the opportunity to realise them. Together we are stronger. Together change is possible, and violence is preventable.”