Former gang member holds pupils spellbound

Tuesday, 14 November, 2017

Former London gang member Gavin McKenna gave pupils from across Tendring the value of his experiences which almost cost him his life.

Now reformed, married with two children and running his own company he warned youngsters of the dangers ahead if they chose the wrong path.

Mr McKenna told how they could be groomed and lured in with promises of loyalty and friendship when instead they were being used by the gangs.

“If someone older than you who you would not normally associate with tries to get you involved with things that make you feel uncomfortable you need to say no,” he said.

“Speak to someone about it and do not get dragged into their activities and way of life.

Mr McKenna now runs Reach Every Generation and travels the country talking to youngsters.

He added that although he had now turned things around he was still traumatised and embarrassed about his past.

Today it was the turn of Frinton Primary School, Market Field School and Rolph Church of England Primary School from Thorpe to attend sessions as part of this year’s Crucial Crew event.

In all more than 1,200 primary schoolchildren from Tendring are receiving vital advice and guidance on issues that affect their daily lives.

They are being held once a week over eight weeks at Bishops Park College in Jaywick Lane, Clacton.

The youngsters take part in three sessions concentrating on gangs; healthy relationships and internet safety and grooming.

They have been organised by Tendring Community Safety Partnership (CSP) and tackle identified priorities.

Lynda McWilliams, Chairman of Tendring CSP and Tendring District Council’s (TDC) Cabinet Member for Health and Education attended the sessions with High Sheriff Simon Hall, who helps fund Crucial Crew.

“We sat in on Gavin’s session and the children were hanging on his every word,” said Cllr McWilliams.

“Being a former gang member himself he made it very real and current and hopefully his strong message will have hit home.”

There were two other sessions with Basildon Women’s Aid leading on healthy relationships and Teen Talk dealing with internet safety and grooming.

Last updated on: 14/11/2017 - 15:37