Coventry & Warwickshire

Coventry teenager hopes youth club will provide 'better future'

Tyler Campbell Image copyright Tyler Campbell
Image caption Tyler Campbell said it was important teenagers took opportunities being offered to them

A teenager has set up a youth club in Coventry to help mentor children after a recent spate of shootings and stabbings in the city.

Tyler Campbell said the weekly event called Fridays would provide a safe place and show teenagers they can have a "better future".

Specials singer Neville Staple whose grandson was stabbed in the city in 2018 is opening the event later.

There were 3,428 recorded knife crimes in the West Midlands during 2018-19.

The Home Office data also showed the number of firearm offences recorded by West Midlands Police, which covers the Coventry area, has increased from 618 in 2016-17 to 681 in 2017-18.

A 15-year-old boy was shot outside McDonald's in Coventry on Saturday.

In June, Emmanuel Lukenga was stabbed in the leg and pronounced dead in Franklin Grove in the Tile Hill area.

In February, Patrick Hill died in hospital after being found with knife wounds at an address in Brinklow.

Pledges of money

Mr Campbell said he had received about £5,000 in funding from the West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner's (PCC) office and also pledges of money from local businesses and universities.

Parents must give their permission for their children, aged between 15 and 17, to be a member of the club in Spon Street and pay £5 a year to join which will go towards the running of the event, Mr Campbell said.

There will be weekly performances from musicians and a chill out area where teenagers will receive guidance and mentoring.

Mr Campbell said: "I can't say it will stop knife crime but hopefully it will help.

"It's good that parents will know their kids will be safe and we can talk about things, inspire people and show them there is a better future," he added.

The West Midlands PCC has also announced it will be funding summer camps for children aged between eight to 25 and living in high-crime areas to help reduce the risk of them committing or becoming victims of violent crime.

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