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Stars support youths against gangs

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Chart-topping music artists and international football stars have lent their support to a video against gang culture - organised by a group of creative West Midlands youngsters.

"No postcodes - no gangs," say Bromford youngsters.

The campaign, NO POSTCODES, is the brainchild of disadvantaged young people supported by Bromford Support  The name comes from the fact that gang areas are traditionally defined by their postcode.

The campaign group, all aged 18 to 25, created a video featuring top music artists like Labrinth, DJ Fresh and Chase and Status. They are joined by Premiership footballers such as Aston Villa's Emile Heskey and Darren Brent, Wolverhampton Wanderers' Matt Jarvis and West Brom's Jerome Thomas.

Support worker Oren Duffus is full of praise for the project: "This is a fantastic, inspiring initiative which has been driven by the young people we work with. The idea and name for the campaign came from them and they have put so much energy into organising a campaign event and video for this important cause.

"Our job at Bromford Support is to enable their vision and help them with guidance. The young people involved had final say one very decision, whether that is creatively or submitting a proposition for funding to the Prince's Trust. They were granted funding and hope to engage more with the Prince's Trust over the coming year as they further their campaign and anti-gang message."

The video of stars, and West Midlands Police, supporting NO POSTCODES can be viewed on You Tube, but that is not all these motivated young people have planned.

Tomorrow, Thursday 27 October, at Birmingham Central Library, the NO POSTCODES team will be hosting a music, dance and information event. The event will showcase the very best from these determined and enthusiastic young people as well as providing information on life options with stalls from organisations such as NHS and Pertemps.

Senior support worker Keith Holland said: "Gangs can destroy lives and tear communities apart. Some young people can feel there is no future for them and joining a gang can seem like a way to belong. The reality is that gangs can ruin or even end the lives of our young people, and the knock-on effect on their friends, families and communities can be devastating.

"These young people are testament to the good that can come out of the problems we see in communities around the country. They haven't always had the easiest time of things but they are prepared to stand up and encourage other young people to be strong and see that there is an alternative to gangs."