At the beginning of October 2015, For Jimmy and investment management company, BlackRock, began working with Grinling Gibbons Primary School to help a group of Year 4 pupils build Safe Havens on Deptford High Street. Over the course of eight half day sessions, spread over two terms, the BlackRock and For Jimmy teams worked with a total of 25 pupils through a range of discussions, workshops and activities. These looked at building a greater understanding of their local community, their safety within it and giving them the skills and tools required for them to go out and create a safer and peaceful community to grow up in.
The programme began with the sharing of Jimmy’s story to the group. Alongside learning about Jimmy’s early life and the moments that led to his death, the session explored themes around anger, forgiveness, justice and the positive reaction Barry and Margaret Mizen had to dedicate their lives to working for peace in Jimmy’s memory.
Safe Haven walks
During the programme, the pupils undertook three Safe Haven walks on their local high street. Safe Havens are shops and local businesses that children can turn to in times of need and are identifiable by a sticker on the window. If a child feels threatened or in danger they can enter a Safe Haven and the shopkeeper will agree to lock the door and call a parent, guardian or the police. This fosters a sense of mutual care and responsibility between children and adults in the community.
A shop or business agrees to become a Safe Haven after being asked by the children we work with if they would like to be involved. Throughout the three Safe Haven walks with pupils from Grinling Gibbons, they were encouraged to ask shopkeepers and build a relationship in their own way; this leads to a natural relationship forming between the children and the shopkeepers.
“Talking to shopkeepers and telling them about Safe Havens gave me a better relationship with my community. It makes me feel safer now that I know that they are Safe Havens.”
Tomiwa, Year 4 at Grinling Gibbons Primary School
A group of five BlackRock employees joined us for three sessions over the course of the programme. During these volunteering days, the BlackRock team took part in discussions and workshops with the children, before accompanying them on a Safe Haven walk along their local high street to meet shopkeepers and help facilitate the building of relationships between the pupils and their community.
“The For Jimmy charity and Safe Haven programme is a great example of how to turn a painful experience into good. Working with the children made me reevaluate myself and the experience has made me want to increase my mentoring activities for colleagues in the firm.”
Ify Ezike, BlackRock
To bring the programme to an end, the pupils visited the BlackRock offices and delivered group presentations to share their achievements over the course of the programme. They were then awarded Safe Haven certificates back at their school during an assembly, to celebrate their hard work helping to build safer and peaceful communities for Jimmy.