SHEFFIELD’S gang culture is being undermined from all directions.
Council, police, schools and sports initiatives are helping win the battle against gang culture and help prevent loss of life of young men like Brett Blake.
The Unity Gym, on Eldon Street, Sheffield, is one such initiative.
Open to all and providing a base for people who may have fallen into gang related crime, Unity helps them get back on their feet and provides many other services to the community, including the prevention and intervention in gun, gang and knife crime. It also works with schools – reforming criminals giving advice on the pitfalls of crime.
Ahmed Warseme, 24, of Broomhall, served time in prison for assault and being in possession of a hand gun. He said he got into a life of crime following problems at school and “nothing to do” in his area.
Now, he said thanks to the likes of Unity Gym – it gives people hope and he is determined to turn his life around. He said: “Prison is horrible, being away from your family and seeing how what you have done affects them is really hard. Going along to Unity Gym and the opportunities and support it gives you makes me determined to do good. I want youngsters to learn from the mistakes I made.”
He added: “If there is one message I could give to young people it would be: stick to your education. If you don’t you could fall into a vicious circle like I did.”
Fuad Assan, 19, of Broomhall, was sent to prison for 18 months for drug offences. He was also expelled from school which left him getting into trouble on the streets. “My message to young people is getting into drugs is not worth the trouble,” he said.
Jama Ahmed, 24, of Broomhall, was sent to prison for a short time for violence. His story was a little different because he did well at school and even started attending university in Bolton.
He said: “Where I grew up there was always a temptation to get into trouble and even though I did get a place at university, trouble seemed to follow me. Before I knew it I was expelled from my course and in prison. My aim is to become a football coach and I am working hard on this with Unity – I never want to get in trouble again.”