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Libraries in Islington to act as safe heavens for youths in peril

Cllr Paul Convery, Islington Council's executive member for community safety, and Lorraine Dinnegan with pupils from Central Foundation School at launch of CitySafe Havens in Islington's libraries Cllr Paul Convery, Islington Council's executive member for community safety, and Lorraine Dinnegan with pupils from Central Foundation School at launch of CitySafe Havens in Islington's libraries

Thursday, July 17, 2014
2:00 PM

Endangered young people can now go to the borough’s libraries for sanctuary, thanks to the a campaign dedicated to a murdered teenager.

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All 10 of Islington’s libraries have joined about 40 other buildings in which staff have received special training to help those fearing violence at home or on the streets.

The first of these was St Mellitus Church in Tollington Park, the church of Lorraine Dinnegan, whose son Martin was murdered in 2007 at the age of 14.

Mrs Dinnegan was instrumental in setting up the safe havens, alongside Citizens UK, which is running a nationwide campaign to encourage more and more sanctuaries for young people.

Speaking at the launch of the campaign last year, Mrs Dinnegan said: “I think about all the incidents that we hear with young people, in situations where they’re in danger and have nowhere to go. It’s really sad when you hear that, but that’s the reality.

“If people know about the safer havens and know where they are, they will feel safer knowing they can go there to seek refuge.

“This is in memory of Martin, but also to all the other young people who have lost their lives.

In total, 50 places around Islington are now CitySafe Havens, including the Happening Bagel Bakery in Seven Sisters Road and Rowan’s Leisure Bowling Centre near Finsbury Park station. Staff at these safe havens have been given training and advice on what to do in an emergency.

Speaking at Central Library in Highbury yesterday, Mrs Dinnegan said: “It’s great to see that Islington’s libraries are becoming CitySafe Havens as it means there are 10 more locations in the borough for young people to seek refuge when they feel threatened or in danger.

“I would strongly encourage other shops and businesses in the borough to join Islington’s libraries and become CitySafe Havens.”

The move comes a fortnight after a damning report on the borough’s youth offending service, highlighting a failure to recognise dangerous and vulnerable youngsters.

Cllr Paul Convery, Islington Council’s executive member for community safety said: “Nothing is more important than the safety and well-being of our young people.

“When young people are in danger it is vital that they have a safe place to go to. I’m delighted that libraries in Islington are now CitySafe Havens.”

To find out more about CitySafe Havens in Islington go to www.islington.gov.uk/citysafehavens

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