Harlem Zone’s vs Sure Start

As a nation and indeed local Southwark community we seem to be floundering how to solve the root causes of last summers riots and how a significant proportion of our communities are so disengaged from the majority.

The recent report seemed to blame the problems on everything from schools having pupils leaving who couldn’t read to rampant materialism.

Harlem under inspired insight from Geoffrey Canada has the Harlem Children’s Zone. This is a long term scheme to raise expectations of the whole community not just save the lucky odd child or family. Focus initially was on the first three years of children’s lives with pre nursery, tutoring, dance and sports classes, food co-ops, social services, and help with housing and health. Real community intensive care of families.

A 2009 Harvard report that evaluated this scheme after five years reported stunning results. They said it was the most effective intervention of any kind in the whole US at creating a huge step increase in school results offering many more opportunities.
The cost is about $5,000 per child per year but the costs of not making these life changing interventions is wildly higher.

This all makes our UK Sure Start interventions look very British. Small and very marginal.

How can we create our own Camberwell and Peckham Children’s Zones?

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