Our community remains in shock over the tragic murder of 15-year-old schoolgirl Elianne Andam. I was humbled to join Elianne’s family and friends at the candlelit vigil held in her memory on Wednesday evening.
Hundreds of residents came to pay their respects and join in prayers for Elianne, who lost her life in such devastating circumstances just over a week ago. Like everyone in Croydon, I am deeply shocked and saddened by this tragedy in our town and I share their concern and determination that things must change.
The council is working with the police and community leaders to tackle knife crime and, in the past year, we have invested in a significant range of programmes to deter young people at risk from becoming involved in violence and help them stay safe.
But much more needs to be done. Croydon agencies – the police, the council, health, faith leaders and the voluntary sector – stand together with our communities against violence. We will be united in redoubling our efforts to tackle its causes.
Thank you everyone who attended a community meeting on Monday, hosted by Safer Croydon Partnership, to discuss community safety in the aftermath of Elianne’s tragic death. It was important to come together – but please be assured that this is an ongoing conversation and there will be more opportunities to have your voice heard.
October is Black History Month and I am proud to represent a borough that is home to one of the largest and most vibrant Black communities in the country. Croydon has a long and rich history of diversity and inclusion and I am committed to ensuring that every resident feels valued and respected. This year’s theme is ‘Celebrating Our Sisters’ and there’s a varied programme of events as part of our London Borough of Culture, to celebrate and learn more about our Black communities in Croydon.
I sadly could not attend the launch of the Ashburton Park transformation project but wanted to highlight this partnership with the Oasis charity and community to upgrade the park for its 100th anniversary. The council has secured £304k to develop a bid of £1.7m from the National Lottery Heritage Fund, with proposals to transform the old lodge into a youth centre run by Oasis. We need safe spaces and opportunities for young people in our community to thrive and flourish, and we look forward to seeing this project develop.