Our Value Life initiative aims to educate our young people to stay safe on the streets and to take life decisions that will enable them to make the most of their opportunities to succeed. It raises awareness of the dangers of gun and knife crime in our community and how this can impact upon young people. Our Value Life campaign started in 2003 and has reached out into the community at large and is having a positive benefit on our Gladesmore pupil community in Haringey and also the wider community in London. Each year has featured grand events with different focuses.
Our first big Value Life event in 2004 started with a peace walk from Gladesmore Community School, along Tottenham High Road and finished at the Freedom Arc in Bruce Grove. Over 120 pupils particpated.
Value Life II, 2005 was a peace walk and rally headed by David Lammy MP, Lucy Cope Mothers Against Guns UK (MAG) and Reverend Nims Obunge of the Peace Alliance. The whole school walked from Gladesmore Community School to White Hart Lane football ground where a rally was held inside the White Suite.
Value Life III, 2006 included a peace walk targeting the violent crime hot spots within the Borough of Haringey. The pupils walked from Gladesmore Community School all the way down to The Dominion Centre on Wood Green High Road, with the event headed by Lucy Cope of Mothers Against Guns.
Value Life IV, 2007 had many different strands. Starting with a peace festival in Gladesmore Community School’s playground featuring fairground attractions and outside agencies. The school hired 6 open top buses to tour the London Borough of Haringey stopping at The Civic Centre to hand in a petition to the Head of the Council. The pupils then marched down Wood Green High Road, closed for the occasion, supported by David Lammy MP.
Value Life V, 2008 included 8 open top buses full of pupils from various other Haringey secondary schools and other selected London schools joining in with the Gladesmore cohort. Buses took numerous routes throughout Haringey converging at Ducketts Common where pupils then marched up Wood Green High Road to The Decorium Hall where a peace concert was held with former Gladesmore Head Boy and special guest ‘Chip’.
Value Life VI, July 2009 was a peace festival in Markfield Park, Tottenham Haringey to recognise and celebrate the achievements of London pupils. Over 800 pupils from eight schools across the capital attended the festival. Pupils were keen to participate in the many inter-school competitions and enjoyed a variety of fun filled games and activities from rock climbing to five-a-side human table football. A number of guest speakers addressed the audience about the issues surrounding gun and knife crime and we were humbled to hear the personal account of a mother who had lost a child to knife crime. Other speakers included James Cleverly (London’s Youth Ambassador) who stressed the importance of education as a means of success. Reverend Nims from the Peace Alliance also gave an impassioned speech calling on pupils to avoid the perils of the street. The festival culminated in the Value Life Concert hosted by Choice FM’s Martin Jay. This year’s headlining act featured Haringey’s finest, Wretch 32 who wowed the crowd with his inspirational verbal gymnastics. A solutions DVD was also produced during Value Life VI. The DVD deals with the issue of knife crime and concentrates primarily on young people’s solutions to this problem. Pupils from schools right across the capital where interviewed. The DVD also gets the views of key professionals working in the Haringey area.
Value Life VII, Tuesday 13th July 2010 / Tuesday 20th July 2010. The focus was the production of a 25 minute film with a strong anti-gun and knife crime message. There were 2 premieres of the film, 1 in Central London at the Prince Charles Theatre in Leicester Square and the other in The Vue cinema, Wood Green, Haringey. The Central London Premiere was host to a selection of pupils from across the capital, VIP guests including Lindsey Coulson and the press. A week later, Tuesday 20th July 2010, there was a local premiere where schools within Haringey were in attendance, with local dignitaries and the press. Both events culminated with a question and answer session to discuss the issues raised in the film.
Value Life Peace Garden Unveiling – Award of Royal Crest
The school was formally presented with the Royal Crest by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II official representative. This took place in the newly created garden and seating area in the school. Rev Nims Obunge, Peace Alliance unveiled a specially commissioned Value Life sign within the garden, a permanent memorial for pupils and staff.
Value Life Installation Tour
A large Value Life installation was created for Value Life VIII to tour schools in London spreading the anti-gun and knife crime message. The magnificent LIFE installation is based on the New York LOVE sculpture by American artist Robert Indiana. The installation represents dreams, aspirations and the celebration of life and was unveiled at Potters Field, City Hall, the home of the Greater London Authority by the Mayor of London Boris Johnson, Deputy Mayor of London Kit Malthouse and MP for Tottenham David Lammy.
Value Life Festival
The Value Life Festival was host to various outside agencies and organisations who work at positively engaging young people. There was food and merchandise stalls for pupils to enjoy including hotdogs, burgers, candy floss and popcorn. The festival also included rides and activities to engage pupils from dodgems, bungee trampolines, to a gyroscope and rodeo bull all for free of charge.
Gladesmore released a single and video created through the involvement of the whole school to demonstrate the talent and aspirations of our young people.
Value Life Concert
The culmination of the day was the Value Life Concert held at Gladesmore Community School’s G2 arena. The concert was to celebration life and pupils infinite potential. Various schools from across the Capital attended the event and performed during the concert. The concert was headlined by a chart topping sensation Wretch 32 and compared by Don and Bowaa. Value Life has received a variety of awards including:
‘The Wavemaker’s Award’
BT ‘Am I Listening?’ Award
The Peace Alliance’s ‘London Schools Peace Award’
The Home Office’s ‘Respect Making A Stand Award’
The Philip Lawrence Awards 2008
Women’s Own Children of Courage Local Hero Award for Valerie Okoampah
The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Services June 2011