The Pimlico Foundation has been delivering children and youth work on the council estates of Pimlico since its formation in 2015, and today I had the pleasure of meeting Mark Liburd, Ian Mullens and Rev Lis Goddard; the team behind Outbreak, the Foundation’s fantastic youth-focused ‘movement’.
Outbreak currently consists of two full-time youth workers, Mark and Ian, who work in two primary schools and one secondary school in the area, as well as providing several weekly youth events and holiday clubs. Alongside this, the team runs the extremely popular Hot Chocolate Thursdays, which brings together children and families from across Pimlico, and which I have promised to join in on in the New Year.
Great work such as this not only provides Pimlico’s children with a safe and positive environment in which to spend their free time but also helps the Foundation to build important relationships with the children and their families. Indeed, through its various activities Outbreak estimates that it is in contact with around 360 children, every week.
The importance of the work of groups like Outbreak cannot be overstated. With the news awash with tragic stories of increasingly younger lives needlessly lost to gang violence, now, more than ever, we need dedicated and passionate people, like Mark and Ian, to connect with our children and offer them an alternative, positive path in life.
With gangs recruiting children from as young as 8, what is important now for Outbreak is that it is given the help and resources needed to continue its good work and to reach more children, at a younger age. Indeed, my work with the cross-party Youth Violence Commission has made me well aware of just how essential it is to connect with children from as early an age as possible and to provide them with safe environments and strong role models.
As such, I have offered to work with the Foundation to find revenue streams that can go towards the appointment of a children’s worker, as well as additional resources that will help the team meet the growing demand from parents and schools alike.
My grateful thanks again to Mark, Ian and Lis for taking the time to host me and tell me about the wonderful work they do for our community.