Youth engagement event marks Stephen Lawrence Day in St Albans

An event to mark Stephen Lawrence Day took place in St Albans.

An event to mark Stephen Lawrence Day took place in St Albans. - Credit: Shelley Hayles

A special youth engagement event was held in St Albans to mark Stephen Lawrence Day.

The day was established by Prime Minister Theresa May in 2019, on the 25th anniversary of Stephen’s death, to allow people to reflect upon the part we all play in creating a society in which everyone can flourish.

This year, a youth engagement session was run locally by The Next Generation Youth Club in collaboration with Sopwell Community Trust, Herts Police, Marlborough Science Academy and Kickoff@3, with the aim of encouraging young people to share community issues which are important to them.

Places were limited to 10 people in accordance with Covid guidelines, and participants became involved in The Stephen Lawrence Foundation's Community social activity by writing their own #becauseofStephen pledges.

Organiser Shelley Hayles said: "Black and brown led organisations and charities are few and far between in this area, but throughout the pandemic the ones that do exist have been supporting communities, out of our own pockets. 

"This Stephen Lawrence Day event was made possible thanks to the support of The Marlborough Science Academy and the expert collaboration of Maggie Wiggins, high profile barber Amir Stapleton, Herts Police Inspector Wiseman and his team who attended and of course Sopwell Community Trust.

"Funding and grants are often given to white led organisations who despite their good intentions, have little understanding of BAME issues or are unable to reach or engage the communities they set out to help. The success of the work that I’ve been doing has been down to hand picking the best people with the necessary skills, qualifications and lived experience and I will continue to do this."