The Roundwood Centre in Harlesden was packed on Tuesday for a community event which focused on gangs in Brent.
The event took the form of a 'Question Time' style discussion where members of Brent's community were invited to come along and take part in a panel discussion followed by workshops aimed at generating community-led solutions to the problem of gangs. Maria Arpa from the Centre for Peaceful Solutions, Lance Findlater from St Giles Trust, DJ Gussy from award-winning radio station - UK RootsFM and Dr Angela Herbert who was awarded an MBE for preventing and reducing reoffending in London all took their seats on the panel along with Cllr Tom Miller, Brent Council's Cabinet Member for Stronger Communities, who chaired the event.
Topics such as how young people end up in gangs, how the community can take ownership of the issues and how the Council needs to listen to and involve young people in the discussion, were all touched on by the panel and members of the public.
The event was part of the Council's wider 'It's Time to Talk' campaign which aims to empower the community to talk about difficult issues and work together to develop grassroots strategies to tackle them. Hate crime and extremism were both discussed at two successful events earlier in the year and other important challenges will be discussed in 2017 following feedback from the community.
Cllr Tom Miller, Cabinet Member for Stronger Communities, said:
"I was so pleased at how successful Tuesday's event was. There was so much passion in the room from a community who really want to solve the issue of gangs in Brent.
"The first part of the event saw some very good questions and challenge for the Council from members of the audience. The second part which involved workshops saw the community working together to help create grassroots solutions to the issues we face.
"Now I want to make it clear that this event was not a tick-box exercise where nothing actually happens as a result of it. We know how vital it is for the Council to listen because we are very aware that we cannot do this alone. A strategy based on the discussions last night is being drafted and we will share this with those who came to the event as well as the wider community, for them to feedback on."