Lewisham based charity, For Jimmy, have been creating Safe Havens with primary and secondary school children on high streets across Lewisham. Set up in honour of 16-year-old Jimmy Mizen, who was killed in an unprovoked attack in 2008, the charity runs a programme in primary and secondary schools that helps young people connect their sense of community and safety.
Safe Havens are shops and local businesses that children can turn to in times of need and are identifiable by a sticker on the window. If a child feels threatened or in danger, they can enter a Safe Haven and the shopkeeper will agree to lock the door and call a parent, guardian or the police. This fosters a sense of mutual care and responsibility between children and adults in the community. A shop or business agrees to become a Safe Haven after being asked by the children For Jimmy work with if they would like to be involved. The charity encourages the children to ask them in their own way, and find this leads to a natural relationship forming between the children and the shopkeepers.
“Prior to Safe Havens, our approach to security in Lewisham Shopping Centre did not take into account that a young person running may, in fact, be in some form of danger. This has changed how we view situations and has meant the relationship with young people and the security team has improved drastically.” Gordon Glean, Head of Land Securities, Lewisham Shopping Centre
Alongside helping to keep young people safe, the scheme is a great way for local businesses to engage with schools and develop positive relationships on their high streets. If you own a shop or business and would like to sign up or find out more information about the scheme, visit forjimmy.org or email firstname.lastname@example.org