March 2020 – Present.
As you are aware, Covid-19 and the Social Distancing and isolation rules brought many changes to many people and the Take a Knife, Save a Life Team were and still are, as affected as many other organisations in that we have been unable to fundraise and engage with Community events.
We would not let this hold us back though and as soon as the Virus hit, we took an assertive step forward in adapting the way we assist our Community, by way of offering an emergency shopping service to elderly and vulnerable members of the Community. By utilising our TAKSAL minibus, we were able to cover not only Havering but also Barking and Dagenham and Redbridge, to provide people with emergency supplies in the midst of the stockpiling and shopping frenzy as well as being able to assist the Community by collecting prescriptions and medications to ensure they were able to stay in and safe.
We were contacted by people across the Borough and further afield, who watch us on Social Media from as far away as Southern Ireland. They were unable to travel home to help and unable to book in home deliveries for elderly and poorly relatives. The TAKSAL team were happy to assist and provided a shopping and prescription delivery service for many people. We were joined on one occasion by Shaun Bailey, the London Mayoral candidate, who frequently Volunteers with us as concerned citizen of Havering.
During ‘Lockdown’, we were delighted to receive our Official Registered Charity Status (No. 1190357), as well as receiving two local awards. One from the ‘Mum’s Guide to Romford’ organisation and another from the Trojan Charity. Both were the Volunteer of the Year award and this was the second time we have received the Trojan Award.
As soon as small meetings outdoors with someone from other than from your own home allowed, we began to conduct weapon sweeps again in Parks and open areas across Havering. Various objects were located, and unearthed and finds included knives and an old gun. These were either delivered to the Police Station or collected by the Police when the Police were called. A log for weapon finds has been created and is attached for your perusal.
Our Patrols sizes have increased in size, when legislation has allowed, ensuring we follow all guidance regarding social distancing, PPE and security. We have been attending local parks and open areas and have received warm responses from the Community.
We have also been actively educating our followers on the dangers of youths carrying knives for ‘protection’ and this encouraged people to dispose of their excess knives within their households. For people who do not drive, we have safely collected these knives and disposed of them responsibly using the local Refuse Site as the local Amnesty Bin has been removed.
School Movement Patrols.
This initiative has been developed by Stephen Gowers and aims to operate in busy areas across Havering when children are leaving school in the afternoon and heading home.
The intention is to have small teams of two or three adults, who will be supplied with a body worn camera, to act as firstly a visual deterrent against street robberies but secondly as a responsible adult who can assist anyone who is feeling threatened and vulnerable.
We have developed registration forms which we are asking members of the public to complete and aim to set up meetings and training as soon as possible whereby we will conduct DBS checks and have terms and conditions agreed to. We are developing the terms and conditions and a draft copy is attached, again for your perusal and advice.
Whilst we would have liked to have begun this initiative prior to the Schools returning in September, we are now aiming more specifically, for when the clocks go back, and the afternoons and evenings are darker. As such a start date on the beginning of November looks more realistic when children return after the Half Term.
During this time we will be contacting local secondary schools via their Board of Governors, Head Teachers and PTA’s, to generate interest and ask if any parents would be willing to join us and also to advise them on the work which we do across the board.
We have been in close discussions with our Minibus Sponsors, who are keen to assist us with setting up a TAKSAL Headquarters.
The long-term plans will be for a site of approximately 50,000sq feet and will include the following:
Early Intervention Programme.
We are aiming to develop an 8-week Early Intervention Programme which will also take place at the TAKSAL HQ. The course will consist of a mentorship scheme and will include a physical and psychological wellbeing programme as well as encouraging personal discipline and trust, by taking part in activities such as, but not limited to:
It is recognised that when people are involved with sports this promotes self-discipline.
Self-discipline will teach them the ability to control emotions, impulses, desires and behaviour and to be able to resist the desire for instant gratification in favour of gaining long term satisfaction and fulfilment from achieving higher and more meaningful goals. Ultimately this will help build self confidence and enable a more productive future.
We wish to coincide the sport elements of the programme with practical and advisory assistance to promote a healthier lifestyle, financial awareness and independence and to formulate a good work ethic from the start.
In turn this will help motivate a better way of life with the skills to achieve goals, maintain energy and enthusiasm and implement a wholesome lifestyle to make it easier to fight off urges and cravings and not give in to peer pressure as people will be able to recognise when their resistance is low and take positive steps to avoid those situations.
We aim to share these fundamental tools to support positive development. This program will also include spiritual first aid and support to combat substance misuse and addictions including Alcoholism and Gambling. Literature is attached from our Mindfulness Counsellor and Mental Health First Aid Trainer.
How do we intend to reach these goals?
By working closely with our local Council, Councillors, Sponsors and seeking funding/grants. We believe that some of our plans can begin prior to our obtaining a TAKSAL HQ but ultimately with their help, the TAKSAL HQ could become a reality within the next 24 months.
Our Committee have undertaken various Qualifications in their own time and at their own cost and we believe with funding and the possibility of partnership training in matters such as Child Protection and Safe Guarding, we will be able to begin to make strides in developing the Early Intervention Programme. A list of these presently held qualifications is attached.
We need to secure funding and support for a premises within Havering which has the required space to undertake the plans which we have, but also to generate funds via the classes and training sessions which could be held by external parties and also in Gym Membership and sponsorship.