A neighbourhood police team that helped bring a derelict Tulse Hill community centre in back into action hope the new base will help forge new links on the estate.
Speaking yards from where Nana Darko-Frempong, 18, was shot dead by gang members in June last year, sergeant Anton Menzies said he hopes the move into Jubilee House, supported by Lambeth Living and the council, will result in better relationships with residents and help combat gang violence.
The launch, attended by the Metropolitan Police’s Trident boss Stuart Cundy and Lambeth borough commander Matt Bell was the first phase of bringing the neglected community asset back to life.
Sgt Anton Menzies said: “After Nana’s shooting I thought enough is enough – we just had to be more accessible.
“I made a promise at the time that I would do my best to improve the situation. Since then we have got this place up and running.”
Menzies wants to draw young people away from criminality on the Tulse Hill Estate through providing information to them, their peers and their parents on how they can change their life.
“Even if a core gang member comes to me and says they want to turn their life around I will break my back to make that happen.”
Reformed offender Junior Smart of the St Giles Trust, Camberwell based on his own experience in prison, was also at the launch. He developed the SOS Gangs Project, based on his own experience, while serving time in prison for robbery.
He is trying to secure funding to move his pioneering programme of peer-to-peer support for troubled youngsters to places like the Tulse Hill Estate.
He told the Blog: “One of the most important things is to get away from the label of gangs.
“There’s a lot of work to be done around the big estates in Brixton.”
Michelle Martin, from the Tulse Hill residents association, said there’s still plenty of effort needed to be done to bring the Jubilee Centre back to its former glory.
“This hall used to have dominoes clubs, kids clubs, and even had the elderly residents reading to the children. We really want to bring that back.”
Tulse Hill Safer Neighbourhood Team can be contacted on 020 8649 2093.