East Ilford Betterment Partnership

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Halloween Party leads to discussion on good v evil

Halloween Party leads to discussion on good v evil

A Halloween Party with a difference was held at Clementswood Community Centre on Friday 1st November. The event was organised by teenage visitors to a teenager Chill-out-lounge held their by BACA one of the groups we commonly partner with.

Close to 20 teenagers attended BACA's Halloween Party during which a visit from the local police drew young people's attention to how to be better citizens. The Sparkz Chill Out lounge project is designed to link young people with charities, community groups and statutory services, while also providing a safe environment for young people to socialize and have fun together.

Although the Halloween event was costumed the number of frightening costumes were out numbered by people without costumes or wearing costumes that promote good, such as angels. This is because it was agreed that teenagers would wear costumes that fitted their personalities and most of those that follow a faith chose not to wear costumes that representing something evil. Many frank conversations were held between young people of faith and those without. Christians spoke of the reality of demons and their desire to choose more positive figures for their dressing up and there was little argument, which was a very positive note.

Later in the evening three officers from the local police shared a prepared talk with young people on local crime and safety.Teenagers were introduced to local police officers and were also advised of how to get in touch with local police to share intelligence, get help or to learn more about the crime in their area.

The main topic of discussion was teen knife crime and how to stay safe and interaction from the teenagers was good, with some asking about police stop and search powers which have the potential for discrimination. One of the police officers described the process in some detail ensuring young people understood police officers have to explain their reasons for a stop and search in detail, which reduces opportunity for abuse. Moreover, police assess a range of situational contexts, such as high crime areas, known drug dealer zones, a persons behaviour and history and much more before choosing to search them. This and the safety advice put a lot of teenagers at ease.

Police officers described the manner in which they arrest people and gave some real life experiences during an engaging 30mins. Teenagers really enjoyed the police interaction and participated well asking relevant questions.

The police found the experience rewarding and have already asked to take part in future events and we intend to get them back to the centre another time. Young people also found the talk very impacting and we hope to have a different guest speaker in follow up events.

Hannah Chowdhry, the event organiser said:

"The event was a good opportunity for young people to engage with local police amidst the fun we shared together.

"It was good to have an introduction to our local police and to learn how hard they try to keep our streets safe.

"Our chill-out sessions are growing in popularity with many young people pleased to get some time away from their homes - in a place where they can let their hair down and feel safe.

"I made new friends as did others which makes our local area one better to live in.

"I hope to organise movie nights and other events such as a new years party to keep our events relevant and interesting."