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Teenager plans to open alcohol-free bar in Ilford to get young people off the street

PUBLISHED: 09:00 21 March 2019

Hannah,15 and Naomi, 11 Chowdhry will be working to set up a bar for teenagers at a Community Centre in Connaught Road. Pictured with Dad Wilson Chowdhry.

Hannah,15 and Naomi, 11 Chowdhry will be working to set up a bar for teenagers at a Community Centre in Connaught Road. Pictured with Dad Wilson Chowdhry.

Archant

Concerned by the number of knife crimes as well as cuts to youth services, a teenager is raising money to open a mocktail bar to give young people a place to hang out in Ilford.

Hannah,15 and Naomi, 11 Chowdhry will be working to set up a bar for teenagers at a Community Centre in Connaught Road.Hannah,15 and Naomi, 11 Chowdhry will be working to set up a bar for teenagers at a Community Centre in Connaught Road.

Youth Parliament representative Hannah Chowdhry, 15, wants to create a safe space in Connaught Road, where teenagers can socialise and take part in activities.

“I want to cultivate safe spaces where youths can feel safe, secure but also have fun,” she said.

“I believe that a non-alcoholic bar would be an excellent way to facilitate a reduction in street crime.

“It would provide youths with a place they can go to in order to hang out, congregate, integrate with people from different backgrounds, dance and enjoy positive healthy kinds of fun.

Hannah,15 and Naomi, 11 Chowdhry will be working to set up a bar for teenagers at a Community Centre in Connaught Road.Hannah,15 and Naomi, 11 Chowdhry will be working to set up a bar for teenagers at a Community Centre in Connaught Road.

“Hopefully this would encourage them to abandon negative pathways which lead to violence and are not healthy outlets and rather foster community cohesion, unity and safety.”

Hannah, a student at Kantor King Solomon High School, Barkingside, said the bar would be attractively decorated and offer security to ensure that there would be no violence.

“It would be the first of a kind and could lead to future initiatives with a similar goal set in mind – that is, the creation of safe spaces for youths to mitigate street crime and offer sanctuary from the stresses of teenage life.

“As an Essex youth counsellor, I see it as my core responsibility to redress issues in my borough and it is clear with the rising number of incidents of street and knife crime that something needs to be done.”

Hannah said that the bar on its own would not be enough to tackle gang violence, and other initiatives including services to help mental health, family breakdown and more police would be needed, but it would be a positive addition for young people in the borough.

“I am keen to introduce numerous reforms and measure to curtail knife violence.

“I was so deeply saddened by the loss of a fellow pupil whose unnecessary death served as a stark reminder that any of us can fall prey to such needless acts of violence.

To back the initiative visit chuffed.org/project/alcohol-free-bar-to-keep-kids-off-the-street

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