“Forgiveness, peace and hope for our Jimmy”

Statement by Margaret and Barry Mizen for the Mizen Foundation

When our dear son Jimmy was murdered in 2008, we made a promise to him that we would do all in our power to preserve his memory by creating a lasting legacy of forgiveness, peace and hope in his name for young people everywhere.

Since then, and to that end, we and all of Jimmy’s siblings have worked tirelessly to make good that promise to our son by actively seeking to build the better, safer communities that we all want and deserve to live in.

Along the way we have been privileged to collaborate personally with so many wonderful young people, schools, businesses, supporters and volunteers, all of whom passionately believe in what we want to achieve for our society as that legacy for Jimmy.

So much has already been achieved and there is so much more to do. 

However, in recent months, it saddens us greatly to say that fundamental differences over the strategic direction and focus of our work began to emerge between us and the trustees of the charity founded by us, most recently known as For Jimmy, now known as Smart Choices.

These differences in approach over our goals and how to reach them were both painful to endure and substantive enough for us to be left with no choice but to step away from the charity we originally formed and to play a major role in establishing this new charity, The Mizen Foundation. It now enables us to continue to work for peace in our son’s memory in the way we know Jimmy would want us to.

So, as we finalise the formal termination of our relationship with the old charity – we ceased working with them on April 1st 2020 – we look forward to all of the new Foundation’s vital work to come; to help young people across the UK become those changemakers for peace we know they can be and, in the process, go on to help to make our streets and our communities so much safer for everyone.

As we now embark on the work of The Mizen Foundation, we are reminded of the words in prayer of the former Chaplain to the US Senate, the late Peter Marshall, who so well encapsulated our mission and ethos:

“Small deeds done are better than great deeds planned.”

We are looking forward to strengthening all of our relationships with everyone who has supported us so much personally over the years and to working with all of you again in future. 

We are so very grateful for all you have done and will do in helping us, as The Mizen Foundation, to widen and deepen that legacy of forgiveness, peace and hope that we all desire for young people everywhere and for the memory of our son, for Jimmy.

Margaret and Barry

“We work to inspire our students”

My job is to give our students the best opportunities

As a young person I attended Addey & Stanhope and now as a teacher I have been here for nine years – this community is one I care about. Outreach work is so important, and this is why I wanted to work with the Mizen Foundation – we are providing the students of Addey with an opportunity to build life skills that are essential when they leave here.

At Addey we adopt a holistic approach where every child is of value and importance. It is important for us to help our students to find their place in the community. All of our staff know the name of every single student. Teachers tend to stay at Addey & Stanhope for a long time so we are able to build relationships with families; engaging with families is what creates that sense of belonging. In doing so we are able to understand and work with our students who are facing challenges within the community.

“Working with the Mizen Foundation has provided a platform for our young people to feel positive about their community…”

We need to instil a sense of community for young people to affiliate with, even if they move further afield- this will remain their community. We should encourage them to take responsibility, to take a handle of what is happening in their community.

At Addey we aim to highlight that there is so much more to achieve from school than good grades. That’s the key thing for me and the thing I feel is most special about the school – young people feeling special about their immediate community.

In our communities we often see things which are not right. We have a choice, we can either walk on by or choose to change things ourselves. Working with the Mizen Foundation has provided a platform for our young people to feel positive about their community and inspired them to rectify social issues impacting their community.

The Mizen Foundation has encouraged them to approach problems with a mindset that they aren’t going to walk by and ignore it; instead, they are going to be the change. Experiencing the immediate impact their actions can have in their community is key. Taking responsibility for their community can become second-nature.

Our young people face challenges within their community and our job is to give them the best opportunities to overcome these challenges.

“It really got inside my heart”

I support my friends to react positively

“In June 2018 Barry & Margaret Mizen came to St Mary’s Catholic High School in Chesterfield to share the story of their son Jimmy. Their response to the murder of Jimmy was what shocked me the most–they were not angry–they forgave the killer.

Barry & Margaret Mizen encouraged me to think about the consequences my actions can have, both in a positive and negative way. Jimmy’s story really got inside my heart, it made me think about how easily anger can escalate. It was hearing their response that inspired me, it inspired me to take ownership of my actions, but also those of my friends.

“Jimmy’s story has really given McKenzie the positivity he needed. He really wants to be a force for good in the community–when he heard of the work the Mizen Foundation do he was determined to raise £1000. It was a tough challenge but through his perseverance and belief in the cause, it meant that he was able to achieve his goal.”

Alex Breedon,
McKenzie’s teacher

When I watch the news, youth violence is everywhere but I don’t believe anger to be the solution to people’s problems. After hearing Jimmy’s story I wanted to spread this message and I decided to do this by supporting my friends to make better decisions when they are feeling angered or stressed. I know of people that will regret their anger it has inspired me to support; I want to support them to react positively.

In my summer holidays, I decided to go out into my local community, knocking on doors to share Jimmy’s story to my community. This was something I felt I had to do. I spoke to one person who was so impacted by Jimmy’s story that they started to cry. I want to do more to keep Jimmy’s legacy alive.”

“I have found the courage to try”

Jonjo and Marianne are pupils at New Hall School, where they first heard Barry and Margaret share Jimmy’s story two years ago

Having found the experience very moving, they have since strived to be as understanding and patient as possible, in order to build a stronger community for themselves and those around them. Following Jimmy’s ten year memorial, they shared what forgiveness, peace and hope means to them and why it’s fundamental to building strong communities.

Jonjo

“The thing that hit me about Jimmy’s story is that it could have been anyone; it could have been any of my friends, it could have been me. That’s the importance of the message and if everyone had a higher level of consciousness — was more patient and understanding, then I think it could prevent things like this happening again. I think it’s about building community. It’s not about the event itself, it’s about the reaction to the event. I think that’s what really defines and helps the community afterwards.

Community itself is not about a geographical area. I think a lot of people think, ‘If I live in this area, I’m part of a community’ but I think community is about the people and their relationship with each other. You really need to work to build and reinforce community. Obviously culturally shared tradition and history is a part of it but I think it’s important that communities have a shared plan to move forward. If you have the same ideas and goals, I think that is what makes you a community. It could be in a school it could be as a country but if you have that common goal and mutual respect, that’s what makes a community. It doesn’t matter who you are and where you’ve come from, it’s where you want to go that matters.

“I want the best for my local area, I think everyone does and that’s what draws us together. We might have political differences or religious differences but we still have the same goal, we just have different interpretations of how to get there.”

When I first came to New Hall School, I saw myself as a bit of an outsider. I overcame that by trying to integrate into the set of existing goals but at the same time, trying to retain my own identity and my own voice. I don’t think a community is a community if you can’t hear individual voices and I think that is really important. It’s about getting the right balance between integration and your own identity.

Hope is the knowledge that you’re not at the best place you can be now but the best place is still achievable. Everyone goes through hard times in their life and if you don’t retain hope, it’s an admission that you’re never going to get beyond where you are. You need to keep that hope to know that you deserve better and that maybe you’re not getting that now but it is very achievable and you can be better and you will be better. I think everyone knows their own personal limits and personal goals and only they can know that truly. Hope is a very personal journey — a personal quality and one we all need to have.

Forgiveness is a journey and once you get started, it’s a lot easier than people expect but at the same time, it’s the getting started that is really difficult. It again comes back to community; if you are a part of the community, you have the mutual respect and the trust that whatever someone else does, you have the strength to forgive them for the good of yourself, for the good of them and for the good of the community.”

Marianne

“What I found very striking was the way Barry & Margaret were so honest about how hard it is to forgive. People tend to think forgiveness is something you just pull out of your pocket and that’s it but it’s a conscious decision, it’s not just something that happens. The fact that they were so honest about how tough it is to forgive made me more determined to try for myself and have it as a goal to aspire to as well. From their talk, I have found the courage to try and properly do it myself.

I don’t see peace as lack of conflict because there’s always going to be conflict because we’re not perfect. I see peace as the mutual respect and understanding that we’re all imperfect and then everybody having the strength to forgive each other no matter what happens. If everybody accepted that we’re all imperfect, that’s where peace will come from because then there’s no need to judge each other and I think judgement is where conflict comes from.

“The place you grew up, where you played sport as a child, those kinds of things, they’re all part of you. All those communities shape who you are in the end so I don’t think I’ll ever forget where I came from. I’m always going to carry that with me, they’ve made me who I am today.”

I understand hope in a way that it is not just, ‘I hope this will go well’. It’s a conscious move towards it. I see hope as a decision rather than just, ‘it will be fine’ because to be hopeful is an action, it is to maintain a positive mindset and know that things will get better. However, that also ties in with striving to make things better as well. You don’t just wait for things to get better because that’s not hopeful that’s complacent. If you are hopeful that means you are striving towards what you want and you believe in yourself that you can get there.”

“Jimmy was a boy who sparkled”

Jimmy Mizen was a 16-year-old school boy from Lewisham, south east London. Who lost his life in an unprovoked attack in a bakery in Lee

Jimmy was an unusually good baby, and grew quickly into a lovely little boy. He was always smiling. He had a beautiful smile. There was an innocence and a boldness about him, and an uncomplicated love of life.

Nothing ever really got Jimmy down. I don’t remember him ever being upset about anything and I don’t remember ever telling him off. All my children were calm and laid back, but Barry and I would often say, ‘there’s something different about Jimmy’. I think it was his happy, carefree nature. Not worrying about things and wanting to join in with everything that was going on.

I never remember Jimmy being grumpy, the only tantrum I can ever remember him having was when he was about two years old, on a family holiday to Dymchurch. We’d gone to a little funfair and it was time to leave and Jimmy was jumping up and down screaming: “I don’t wanna go!” We’ve got a bit of camcorder footage of that. Jimmy used to cringe when we showed it.

If anything needed to be done at home, he would do it, from a young age. He was very good at mending and painting things. He’d fix a broken chair for me and revarnish it, or go round to our elderly next-door neighbor, Kathleen, and cut her grass for her and have a chat, and she’d always offer him money, and he’d always refuse it.

“I meet a lot of families who have lost loved ones to murder, who are driven with anger. But it’s so destructive to the family. People blame each other and argue – but anger is so damaging. The pain it causes on top of the pain of losing a child can destroy families.”

Jimmy had done a work experience placement the year before he died for a property maintenance company in Southwark, Leathermarket JMB. It involved him going out each day with a fitter, repairing doors and bathrooms and so on. By all accounts this man was pretty sullen and resentful at having a ‘kid’ foisted on him, as he saw it, but by the end of the fortnight, Jimmy had bowled him over, and they were the best of friends. After this work experience, Leathermarket JMB decided to create an apprenticeship for him. This was the job he would have gone to after his GCSE’s. To think that our son made such an impact in just two weeks, in what is quite a tough, hard-working environment, has made us very, very proud.

After Jimmy died, when the house went quiet, we would be round my kitchen table and we would be sitting laughing about Jimmy. In those early days, we would be laughing as well as crying, trying to make sense of it, but we had a lot of laughter remembering and talking about Jimmy.

The day Jimmy died I promised him two things; one, I would keep his name alive and two, I would dedicate my life to working for peace.

Margaret Mizen MBE

“I was so proud to represent the Mizen Foundation”

Andy Saltwell met Margaret by chance and was so inspired by Jimmy’s story that he decided to run the London Marathon for Jimmy

I met Margaret Mizen this year and was instantly touched by her warmth and personality. Having learnt more about the family, I feel humbled to have met them and am in awe of what they have achieved in the name of Jimmy, who clearly was, and is an inspiration to us all.

It was a privilege to be one of so many amazing people raising money for their chosen charities. I arrived at the start zone nearly at the back alongside a dinosaur, a pantomime dame and two people in a canoe. Not an ideal position for me. However, I quickly made my way through the field running well above my pace time, passing amongst others; a camel, a post box and a guy dressed as a whoopee cushion.

“I remember saying to Margaret the first time I met her that I would like to run a race for Jimmy, and I really believe it was destiny that got me a place in the London Marathon this year.”

The people along the route were amazing and I quickly lost count of the high fives I gave to all the children, and adults who excitedly held their hands out. The crowds and sheer wall of noise at the Cutty Sark took my breath away and I felt a little emotional as I crossed Tower Bridge at the halfway stage.

All of my family and friends were waiting in Narrow Street to offer fantastic support as I stopped to drink and say hello. The last mile went past in a blur and after running past Buckingham Palace and turning down the Mall the finish line was in sight. I crossed the line in a time of 4 hours, 18 minutes and 20 seconds, which was a personal best.

I remember saying to Margaret the first time I met her that I would like to run a race for Jimmy, and I really believe it was destiny that got me a place in the London Marathon this year. I was so proud to represent For Jimmy and raised over £1,000 to support the work of the charity.

If you have a fundraising idea, please email us.

“Invaluable to the local borough and the police”

Kate Halpin became Borough Commander for Lewisham in 2015

She was previously awarded a Fullbright Police Fellowship to examine how youth crime is policed in Los Angeles and also spent 18 months as the UK Chief Police Advisor in Iraq. In her role she actively supports our work to promote Lewisham as a place of peace and safety.

“The work that Margaret, Barry and their family have put into the Mizen Foundation has been invaluable to the local borough and the police. The Safe Haven scheme has helped many young people across Lewisham. However, their reach goes far beyond the local borough. I heard Barry and Margaret talking recently on BBC radio about their experience when Jimmy was murdered, anyone who heard it would have been moved by their account of their experience, and it is a measure of the people they are that they have turned a personal trauma into such a powerful force for good. I am pleased to have the Mizen Foundation working with us in Lewisham and the wider Metropolitan Police.”

– Kate Halpin

“The charity helped them to find their potential”

Benjamin Smith is a pastoral leader at Deptford Green School

In his role he helps pupils to improve their social, emotional and behavioural skills and was vital in supporting the charity’s work with young people both in school and out in the community.

“The Mizen Foundation were amazing. Over a few terms they worked with a group of students who were not showing the promise that we knew they had inside. The charity helped them to find their potential through working with other schools and the local community. The Mizen Foundation uses mentors that our students can relate to and learn from without feeling like they are being taught by ‘normal teachers’. We have seen an increase in engagement across all subjects; significant reduction in negative behaviour events and two of the students are now involved in our student leadership programme.”

– Benjamin Smith

“Jimmy wasn’t in the wrong place”

Jimmy’s brother, Bill, talks about gaining a new perspective on the international impact of Jimmy’s story, and the frustration that drives him to create safer communities

Late last year, I was invited to take part in a week long trip to India, organised by Leaders Quest, a social enterprise that works with leaders to create a more sustainable world. During this trip I gained a new perspective on the international impact of Jimmy’s story, and in the most unexpected of places.

It was the fourth day and a group of us were on a visit to urban Jaipur to visit three organisations, the third of which was Jaipur Elephant Paper. There we met its founder, Vijendra and his family who make eco-friendly, sustainable paper from 75% Elephant dung in a small factory below the family home. Upon arrival we were greeted by Vijendra and his daughter, and then given a presentation on the process of making the paper. We were all invited to have a go, and when it was almost my turn, I was told to come out of the queue and was directed to a premade frame leaning up against the wall with the words ‘For Jimmy’ in it. It was a gift from Vijendra, who had learnt of Jimmy’s story before the visit. He explained to me how the story had impacted on him and he spoke about missing a brother he didn’t get to see too often.

“He was where he was supposed to be, in his local bakery on a Saturday afternoon. Like your home or your school, your community is somewhere you should be safe. This is the thing that drives me every day.”

There are so many different aspects of Jimmy’s story that connect with people. Jimmy was a 16-year-old, a son, brother and friend. We can all relate to his story and the idea of loss in a different way. It was really fascinating to see how that story is borderless, with the power to break the divide of culture and language in quite subtle and powerful ways.

The purpose of my time in India was to join leaders from around the world and explore the bridge between cleverness and wisdom. The idea being that the bridge between cleverness and wisdom is compassion. Vijendra’s act of compassion reminded me that what we were doing in Jimmy’s memory mattered.

The trip taught me that we all have moments where we can go from cleverness to wisdom, and for me my moment comes back to when people talk about Jimmy being in the wrong place at the wrong time, and realising that he wasn’t. He was where he was supposed to be, in his local bakery on a Saturday afternoon. Like your home or your school, your community is somewhere you should be safe. This is the thing that drives me every day.

“Our pupil’s confidence has blossomed”

Lori Knight is Assistant Head Teacher at Lucas Vale Primary School

We ran our programme with a group of their year 4 pupils throughout 2016 creating Safe Havens and building key community relationships in the local area of Deptford.

“Through the many team building exercises I have seen how our pupil’s confidence has blossomed. Through the many trips and visits, such as to parliament, children have been empowered to have a voice in order to make a change.

It has been excellent to witness young people delivering these sessions, these are people our children can relate to, allowing our students to see the possibility of achieving no matter their circumstances. This programme has truly encouraged positive attitudes, enabling all children to be positive member’s of the community.”

– Lori Knight

“This has changed how we view situations”

Gordon Glean has been head of security for Lewisham Shopping Centre for over 20 years

He signed the centre up as a Safe Haven in 2010 and in 2016 he was awarded a Police and Security award from the Metropolitan Police for his dedication to the community in Lewisham.

“I think the Mizen Foundation has been doing a fantastic job integrating all of the different organisations that are involved in social justice. Prior to Safe Havens, our approach to security in Lewisham Shopping Centre did not take into account that a young person running may, in fact, be in some form of danger. This has changed how we view situations and has meant the relationship with young people and the security team has improved drastically.”

– Gordon Glean

“He has a greater sense of himself”

Jake Strickland’s son is a pupil at Addey & Stanhope School

He took part in our programme creating Safe Havens and building stronger relationships between young people and the local community of Deptford.

“As a result of my son’s participation with the Mizen Foundation programme, he has a greater sense of himself within the wider community and a sense that the community is there to support him. I cannot thank the Mizen Foundation enough for their efforts to improve the lives of young people.”

– Jake Strickland

“The support of the Mizen Foundation has been vital”

Vanessa Bradley is the admin officer for the Lewisham Community Transport Scheme

The scheme was set up in 1999 to provide affordable, safe and accessible transport for any voluntary or charity organisation in Lewisham. Since 2009, the Mizen Foundation has donated four minibuses to the charity.

“Our partnership with the Mizen Foundation began back in 2010 when the Mizen family donated a mini bus to our community transport scheme. One bus soon turned into four and allowed us to expand our offer of affordable and accessible mini bus hire across Lewisham. The support of the Mizen Foundation has been vital in helping us give some of the most isolated and vulnerable members of the community access to day care sessions and support services that they would otherwise have no way of attending.”

– Vanessa Bradley

“We proudly support the Mizen Foundation”

As a company, we have always believed in the importance of supporting local initiatives. It is what helps to improve our area and the people within it to live better lives

It is impossible not to find people like Barry and Margaret inspirational in their selfless commitment. In their dedication and ability to turn a very tragic event in their lives, into something positive and a gift to the community and to the future of all those people who are touched and will be touched by their actions and energy. Around them, there are also so many people who understand the importance of the charity, people who are committed themselves to investing their energies into making a difference.

It is often a fact that some of the best things that we can do in our lives are not easy. They often demand our time, money, energy, and test our drive and determination to succeed. Although this can be difficult at times, we also know that they will leave us with some invaluable gifts and a deeper sense of personal achievement and of meaningful contribution. Selling and letting properties, managing estates and providing related support and services is our main every day goal. It is our business. However, we do also believe that supporting our local community initiatives and our neighbours whenever possible, is very important.

“It is often the case that all of those very small things that the many of us do every day, combined together, can generate a strong bond and energy that leads us to creating better communities.”

To you, the reader of this article, we would like to take this opportunity to invite you to join the Mizen Foundation and support their work. What they do is important and must be valued. Even the smallest thing that you and I can do for them adds value. It is often the case that all of those very small things that the many of us do every day, combined together, can generate a strong bond and energy that leads us to creating better communities.

Daniel Maifredi
Director of Sebastian Roche

“Changes lives for the better in so many ways”

Sir Steve Bullock became the first directly-elected mayor for Lewisham in 2002 and spoke to us in his fourth term

He has been a dedicated advocate of our work in Lewisham and supported the launch of Safe Havens across the borough.

“The Mizen Foundation emerged from a tragedy which would have shattered many families but this family instead created something that changes lives for the better in so many ways. It has been my privilege to have witnessed this from the beginning and not only to have talked often to Barry and Margaret and the rest of the family but to some of the young people they have helped along the way. The stories those young people tell are the reason I continue to support the Mizen Foundation and would urge others to do so to. Seeing a young person who has been struggling now working in a supportive environment and growing in confidence for the future is inspiring.”

– Sir Steve Bullock

“He could talk to anybody”

In 2013, Margaret Mizen and writer Justin Butcher published Jimmy: a legacy of peace. In this second excerpt, Margaret talks about Jimmy’s happy-go-lucky attitude.

If anything needed to be done at home, Jimmy would do it, from a young age. He was very good at mending things and painting things. He’d fix a broken chair for me and revarnish it, or go round to our elderly next-door neighbour, Kathleen, and cut her grass for her and have a chat, and she’d always offer him money, and he’d always refuse it.

His interests tended to skip from one thing to another. Danny plays rugby for Sidcup, so Jimmy growing up wanted to play as well. Of course he wanted all the gear, the boots and everything, and then he’d lose interest! It was the same with fishing: we’d got him the rod and the fishing tackle, but you couldn’t get him to stick with one thing. He used to have a laugh going fishing with Joanne’s boyfriend, Andy. On one trip, Jimmy sat on a box of maggots in the car and they went everywhere, and within a couple of days Joanne’s car was full of great big bluebottles!

He had an impulsive nature, a happy-go-lucky quality, ambling along and taking an interest in just about everything he came across, but it could be frustrating sometimes. You’d be sitting in the kitchen talking about something, and Jimmy would come in and join in the conversation halfway through – “What’s all that about, then?” and then divert it somewhere else. The next minute you’d be saying, “Oh Jim! I’ve completely lost my train of thought!”

He could talk to anybody. As he got older, he could talk to children; he’d be so kind to them. We have a friend of the family who took many, many years to have a baby, and Jimmy must have been about six or seven when their son was born. Jimmy used to go round there and play with him. He’d play with William all the time, because he knew how to be with young children. But he knew how to be with adults as well. He had great confidence in social situations.

“I feel proud to have helped”

Aaron Bishop (19), from Catford, is a journalist who got involved with us at the Southbank Centre for our Peace Mosaic project in October

It was my first time helping out at a Mizen Foundation event and I was amazed at how receptive people were to finding out more about what they do. Many people were eager to get involved, asking how they can donate and parents as well as children were happy to play a part. Even five-year-old Ama wrote, ‘Love one another’ next to her handprint. This shows that the message is being spread and received even to the youngest of children.

The awareness that the Mizen Foundation try to spread and the good work they do is inspiring, and on a personal level I feel proud to have helped in some capacity with such a good cause.

Members of the public also took an interest in what would happen to the mosaic after it left the Southbank centre, and with it going to public places in different boroughs around London, the memory and pledge of peace will not be forgotten. The Mizen’s added their own handprints to the mosaic, with the whole family in attendance. This was a special moment as it highlighted, in my mind at least, the effort and strength of the family, and how far they had come since that tragic day in 2008.

This event really opened my eyes to the work that For Jimmy do and I look forward to helping out in future events. The awareness that the Mizen Foundation try to spread and the good work they do is inspiring, and on a personal level I feel proud to have helped in some capacity with such a good cause.

“Very emotional but so inspiring”

Frances Toner from Knock Shrine, describes the impact of Barry and Margaret’s recent talk at the National Eucharistic Congress in Ireland

“Very emotional but so inspiring.” This is how one young person described hearing Barry and Margaret talk in Ireland in September. They were attending the National Eucharistic Congress at Knock Shrine in County Mayo.

Barry and Margaret were speaking to our young people in the Youth Space. A venue in the congress that sets out to give young people a dedicated place at the congress in which they could explore, discuss and celebrate their Catholic faith.

Emotional, powerful, inspiring and moving were all words used by the young people to describe Barry and Margaret’s talk, in which they discussed forgiveness, peace and hope – even in the face of unthinkable tragedy and pain. They talked about the outpouring of support they received following Jimmy’s death and how that “shared grief and common humanity that runs through the world,” helped them to feel God working in their lives, even in the aftermath of such a terrible tragedy.

“At the end of the talk, many of those in attendance lined up to thank the Mizens for the gift they had given in sharing their experience in such an open and powerful talk.”

Helen Ralph, director of Knock Youth Ministry, which works with thousands of young people from schools across Ireland each year, said Knock Shrine was extremely grateful that Barry and Margaret gave their time so generously and that the response was so positive.

“I think that everyone who listened took inspiration and strength from their story. Hopefully these young people will bring that message of hope and forgiveness back to their parishes and share it with their communities.”

“This project is breaking down barriers”

In October 2015 the Mizen Foundation started working with Year 8 pupils from Harris Boys Academy East Dulwich, to launch Safe Havens on Peckham Rye Lane

The project is the start of a two-year partnership between Southwark Borough Council, the local police and the Mizen Foundation. Over the two years, we will create seven new Safe Haven zones throughout the borough with 14 schools and youth centres.

“It’s inspiring to see pupils going out into the community and talking to shopkeepers about their safety. This project is breaking down barriers and building relationships that will have a positive impact on the wellbeing of our young people in Peckham.”

– PC Marcus Kudliskis, Safer Schools Police Officer, Peckham Police Station.

Read more about A Haven in Flowers.

Like all of our projects, it started with Margaret Mizen visiting the school to share Jimmy’s story. After this, the pupils were introduced to the idea of Safe Havens. They are a simple idea, the pupils go out onto their local high street and ask shopkeepers if they would lock the door and call the police if a young person or adult was in danger or felt threatened on the street. What makes it unique is that young people, who build the relationships with their local community to help make it safer, lead the scheme.

“It was lovely to have the young people come into my shop and I was more than happy to sign up to the scheme. It was great to see them taking responsibility for the safety of others within the community, and actively trying to make it a safer place for everyone.”

– Brenda Amey, owner of The Flower Shop on Peckham High Street, who signed up for the Safe Haven scheme.

After a successful Safe Haven walk, the young people from Harris Boys Academy signed up over 30 shops along the length of Rye Lane that will display a Safe Haven sticker in their window. As well as helping to keep young people safe in the community, the project has been vital in building relationships between young people, local businesses, the police, council and community in Peckham.

“He was always smiling. He had a beautiful smile”

In 2013, Margaret Mizen and writer Justin Butcher published Jimmy: A Legacy of Peace. Over the next few months, we’ll be publishing short edited excerpts from the book.

Jimmy was conceived when we were on holiday in Norfolk and born on Cup Final Day, Saturday 9 May 1992. He was a week late, and then, on the Friday, Joanne was helping me out at home. She gave me a cup of raspberry leaf tea, which is supposed to induce labour, but nothing happened. The next morning, she gave me another cup. My dad phoned at noon and asked, “Anything happened yet, Marn?” “No, dad, nothing yet.”

The next thing I knew, by one o’clock, I was phoning Barry to come home from work. We got to the hospital at two, and by half past two, Jimmy was born! It was as quick as that, and Barry got home for the second half of the Cup Final. We’ve always laughed about that. Jimmy was the most beautiful baby, 10 pounds 4 ounces, the easiest birth, and I brought him home the next day. James was away that weekend, so when he came back home, there was a new baby waiting for him, and he asked if he could name him Jimmy. There was a lot of excitement and delight in the house that weekend.

“He was always smiling. He had a beautiful smile. There was an innocence and a boldness about him, and an uncomplicated love of life.”

Right from the start, everything about Jimmy was different. Even when he was just a few weeks old, I remember worrying and going to the doctor’s, because he was so easy! He was an unusually good baby, and grew quickly into a lovely little boy. He was always smiling. He had a beautiful smile. There was an innocence and a boldness about him, and an uncomplicated love of life.

Nothing ever got Jimmy down. I don’t remember him ever being upset about anything and I don’t remember telling him off. The worst I remember is maybe telling him to put his washing in the dirty basket. All my children were calm and laid back, but Barry and I would often say, “There’s something different about Jimmy.” I think it was his happy, carefree nature, not worrying about things, wanting to join in with everything that was going on. He never minded staying away from home. He’d be down at my mum’s and sister’s quite a lot, and he’d help them, at a young age. Even when he was tiny, he used to go over to my friend Eileen’s house, just opposite us, every Saturday, and he’d watch Casualty with her and have fish for his tea.

“I’d never been so deeply affected”

Bernadette Broderick, from Leeds Trinity Chaplaincy, organised Barry and Margaret’s recent visit.

Barry and Margaret deeply affected everyone present when they delivered their ‘Darkness into Light’ talk at Leeds Trinity University in March. In response, the Leeds Trinity University Chaplaincy has initiated two Peace Projects at the University.

Firstly, an Annual Peace Lecture is being planned which will address either internal peace lending itself to a spiritual focus, or external peace such as international politics. We are delighted that Baroness Sayeeda Warsi, previous Minister of State for Faith and Communities (2012–2014) has agreed to deliver the Inaugural Lecture in Spring 2016.

Leeds Trinity University has also met with Wetherby Young Offenders (WYO) prison. Research has suggested that re-offending rates by young offenders are proven to be significantly reduced if reading and writing skills are improved. This seems to be a good focus for lessening the distress and division caused by any form of offending behaviour. Leeds Trinity is initially setting up a partnership for its students to help improve the Literacy and Numeracy skills of the young men at WYO. The University’s Psychology and Forensic Psychology students will also undertake small pieces of research for WYO during the Government’s period of major transition and change in the delivery of education in all Young Offenders Institutes (which commences nationally over the summer). As the relationship develops, it is hoped that further co-working will evolve with the Leeds Trinity University Chaplaincy, as well as Trinity Sport. Students will be able to commit to these projects as part of their degree modules or as volunteering projects.

We hope that these two Peace Projects will provide a fitting tribute to the effect Barry and Margaret had on every one of us as they shared Jimmy’s story.

“Work with schools to help stop the cycle”

A Pledge for Peace by Leila and Tarik, Shoreditch, London

“I’ve worked as a volunteer mentor at a prison, and I think more help needs to be given to those who commit the crimes. It’s great to hear about work with schools to help stop the cycle.”

“We’re always inspired by the young people”

A letter from Barry and Margaret.

We can’t believe it’s been four months since we wrote our first letter to you. Since finishing last year’s schools programmes there’s been little time to rest and prepare for the next academic year. We’ve climbed Ben Nevis, walked 21 Bridges and brought the community of Ladywell together once again for our Sparkle event last month – just in time to start another year in schools.

Thank you to each and every one of you for the continued support you show us. It always touches our hearts to see how after seven years, people are still remembering Jimmy and supporting his legacy. After a fantastic academic year, we’re really pleased to have been invited back to those schools and can’t wait to start with their wonderful pupils. We’re always inspired by the young people that we meet, and we will never give up our promise to Jimmy, that his legacy is one of peace.

As well as our programmes in Lewisham, this year we will also be working with schools in the London Borough of Southwark to bring Safe Havens to their local high streets. The launch of our online resources pilot will also help spread Safe Havens across the country. It’s really exciting for us to enable schools across the country to carry out their own social action projects within their local communities. Although launching a project of this size is quite nerve wracking, we feel it’s the right move for us to spread Jimmy’s legacy further. It’s so important that young people are taken beyond the school gates, so that they can lead change in their own local communities.

Our continued work with parish confirmation groups was so heartwarming last year. We visited around 20 groups and are pleased to be booking more for the year ahead. We’re also touched every time we are asked to speak at faith conferences, events, and of course faith schools. It’s so humbling for us to know that people want to hear our message of forgiveness, peace and hope across the UK.

Lastly, we are really excited to be working with Volunteer Police Cadets, Fire Cadets, our local scout groups and Youth United.

Once again, thank you for all your love and support. We hope you enjoy reading about everything we’re doing. If you’re inspired by anything you’ve read, please do get in touch. We’d love for you to join us in our mission of making young people safer, and our vision of creating a world where a young person can go into their local shop and always come back home. Because Jimmy didn’t.

Much love, Barry and Margaret xxx

“It gave me a route in life”

Camilla Yahaya has worked with the Mizen Foundation since the age of 14 and is now Safe Havens Project Lead

I was 14 when I wrote to Barry and Margaret. I found Jimmy Mizen’s story really sad, it just really got to me. I had only moved to London from Marseille, France in 2008. I didn’t really have friends and couldn’t speak English. When I found out about their Safe Haven project at my school (Prendergast Ladywell Fields in Lewisham), I went to an event with Simon Jones who was then my geography teacher – and now works for the Mizen Foundation! It was there that I got to see Barry and Margaret tell Jimmy’s story. It was really inspiring listening to them share their faith and commitment to working with young people, making something good out of their own personal tragedy, Jimmy’s death.

At the event I asked Barry if there was any way that we could help, he said we could continue to work with them on the Safe Havens project. When we got back to school we wanted to figure out the issues affecting young people in the community. A lot of the feedback we got was about the negative perception of young people and how unsafe they felt. Because of this we decided to take part in Safe Havens, so that’s where my journey began.

“I can’t think of anything that I do at the moment that doesn’t relate back to Jimmy and his story.”

At first it was a small group of students, about 10 or 20 of us. We started visiting our local high street, shopkeepers and attending meetings to get our voices heard. By the end of year 11 we had over 200 young people involved. It’s crazy to think about how much has happened since then. We went from 200 young people to getting 10,000 handprints on Jimmy’s Peace Cloth (every handprint represents a pledge for peace). We even shared Jimmy’s story on two trips to America visiting The White House, and took 30 young people to Number 10 to meet David Cameron. I won the Big Society award in 2014 for the relationship that was created in Lewisham between politicians, shopkeepers, local counsellors and young people.

Meeting Barry and Margaret and learning about Safe Havens gave me something to get involved in. It’s where I met all my friends and found my passion for politics. It gave me a route in life. I never thought it would lead me this far. I was just trying to change people’s perspective of young people.

I can’t think of anything that I do at the moment that doesn’t relate back to Jimmy and his story. I’m very excited to be working on Safe Havens as the Project Lead while we take them into Southwark over the next two years. I feel very honoured to be working at the Mizen Foundation.

“I was going to do something incredible”

Miles Emmanuel worked at the Mizen Foundation and took part in the Lewisham Community Ambassadors Channel Row 2015

I never imagined that one day I’d be rowing across the English Channel. So in July, trying to keep my energy levels up, I rowed with a Mars Bar in one hand and oar in the other as part of The Lewisham Police Community Ambassadors (LPA) Channel Row.

The LPA row started back in April, at the AHOY watersports charity based in Deptford, London. I’d met the LPA at a Lewisham Council Young Mayor’s meeting when they spoke about working to build relationships in the community. They mentioned a row they were planning across the English Channel. I thought it was a great idea, so I signed up to represent the Mizen Foundation.

Team LPA included police officers Inspector Michael ‘Mick’ Chattenton; Sergeant Brian Sherlock; Sergeant Jon Biddle; PC Marvyn Snelgrove and PC Rebecca Jabbar. The young adults were Mhmadou Gumaneh from LeSoCo; Luvumbu from Millwall Charitable and myself.

A common misconception is that the key to a successful rower is to be a “big powerful burly man”, but here’s the real secret: it’s to apply “the three T’s: Technique, Timing and Teamwork”. We learnt this very quickly on our first day of training when we were landed smack bang in the middle of The River Thames.

By the time July hit we were excited heading down to Dover. I was going to do something incredible and nothing could stop me. Mother nature, unfortunately had other ideas. Not even a mile outside the harbour – torrential rain, thunder and lightening hit, so we quickly headed back to the safety of land. My crewmates tried to stay upbeat, but there was no hiding our collective disappointment over the rescheduling of the trip. We were just lucky that we were only a mile out on the water and not 30.

“After eight hours of rowing, more than 23 miles covered, four months of training and countless hours of planning, promoting and fundraising… we did it. We did it for ourselves. We did it for Lewisham. We did it for Jimmy.”

Fast forward to 31st of July and we were back waking up at 4.30am to a surprisingly sunny Dover. We had planned to finish within five to six hours, but we had forgotten that the English Channel is busy with ferries, container ships and tankers. So a lot of our time was spent bobbing and weaving in and out of these.

This not only racked up the millage, but also meant we were rowing against the tide. Finally, we managed to make it into French territory and glided round the halfway point of Collbart Nord Buoy. With the tide back on our side and with a school of jellyfish cheering us on, we were speeding back across the Channel now.

Tensions were high, energy burned and chocolate bars eaten, but we rowed into Dover harbour and made it to the sunny seaside shore. After eight hours of rowing, more than 23 miles covered, four months of training and countless hours of planning, promoting and fundraising… we did it. We did it for ourselves. We did it for Lewisham. We did it for Jimmy.

“It’s down to us to really make a difference”

Kevin Quinn is a watch manager at Lee Green Fire Station, Lewisham and founder of the Firefighter Foundation

We first got involved with the Mizen Foundation when my wife Karen Quinn, who is a Police Community Support Officer (PCSO), worked in the Ladywell Safer Neighbourhoods team. She mentioned all the good work they’d done getting shops to sign up to the Safe Havens scheme on Brockley Road.

We thought the Safe Havens were such a great idea, and wanted to get fire stations involved. If a child came running into our station we would give them shelter and make the police aware anyway, so I thought it was a bit of a no brainer really for them to become Safe Havens. When I moved to the Lee Green station, just down the road from where Jimmy was tragically killed, it seemed right to make that the first one. With the support of Barry, Margaret and Simon Jones (director of the schools programme), it did so well that Safe Havens were rolled out across 37 fire stations in south-east London.

The Mizen Foundation was an inspiration to us, to stand up and take responsibility for making your own environment and community better. Originally, the idea for the Firefighter Foundation began after 9/11. A group of firefighters from all over the country, including myself, started raising money for the widows and orphans of the 343 fire fighters that died in New York. After establishing Safe Havens, Margaret and Barry really inspired us to carry this charitable work on, so we became a registered charity in 2014.

“Barry and Margaret made us realise that you can’t sit around waiting for other people to make your life safer. It’s down to us to really make a difference.”

The first initiative that we are introducing as the Firefighter Foundation is to campaign to get defibrillators into every school across the UK. Around 270 children die after suffering sudden cardiac arrest each year, but there is no requirement for defibrillators to be kept in the school. We are in partnership with St John Ambulance for our Sweet Hearts campaign. This is an online resource filled with information on fundraising ideas, so that schools around the country can get a defibrillator and training in how to use it.

We’re also really pleased to have just got our first fire engine that we’ll use for events and keep at our Firefighter Heritage Centre in Kent. It was made in 1992, the same year that Jimmy was born, so in memory of him, we’ve called it The Spirit of Jimmy. Barry and Margaret made us realise that you can’t sit around waiting for other people to make your life safer. It’s down to us to really make a difference.

www.firefighterfoundation.org.uk

“Who doesn’t want peace?”

Nick Barthram is one of our Young Citizens and a regular volunteer at the Mizen Foundation

There was such a great turnout at Sparkle, we received a lot of support from the community. I think people get behind the cause, because really, who doesn’t want peace? The atmosphere was so good that even though volunteers were given timeslots to work, we just stayed all day. (I was volunteering as a Marshal).

Even visitors lent a hand over the weekend, putting their handprints on Jimmy’s peace cloth, remembering Jimmy’s life and sharing the message of forgiveness, peace and hope. What happened to Jimmy seven years ago was tragic – but now, it makes people want to do something for their community.

Sparkle is just one of the fantastic events that I’m part of thanks to the team at the Mizen Foundation. I got involved after seeing what a positive experience my older brother Charlie had.

He and I were both scouts growing up and he did a lot of community work. He was then nominated to join a fundraising trip to Nepal organised by the Mizen Foundation. Not only did he raise more than £1200, he helped inspire me.

As a family, we always wanted to do something to give back and it just kind of grew. After taking part in a few community events, my mum joined the fundraising committee and we walked 21 Bridges (The Mizen Foundation’s biggest fundraiser of the year). Now, I volunteer in my own right as part of Young Citizens.

I’m really excited about the next Sparkle – another great opportunity for our community to come together!

“It never occurred to me I wouldn’t walk again”

Noel Gray worked with the Mizen Foundation, and is walking 21 Bridges with us, 21 years after a disabling accident

May 19th 1994, I am sitting in my car at traffic lights, when the car behind runs into me at 35mph. Lots of physiotherapy later I was able to walk again. That was twenty one years ago.

21 miles will be the furthest I have walked in over 21 years. When I was learning how to walk again, it never occurred to me that I wouldn’t make it. I just hope I still have some of that commitment!

“21 miles will be the furthest I have walked in over 21 years. When I was learning how to walk again, it never occurred to me that I wouldn’t make it.”

I love what the Mizen Foundation does, and why they do it. So I am walking with them. 21 Bridges began back in 2013 as a way of marking what would have been Jimmy’s 21st Birthday. Walking from Richmond to Tower Bridge, we will weave along the River Thames, across 21 of London’s iconic bridges and through the centre of the capital covering just over 21 miles.

“You need to step up and be quick to learn”

Ellie Nevin (17) works in one of the Good Hope cafés

I’ve worked at Good Hope for just over two years  —  I wanted to get a part time job so I could be more independent, do something for myself, and I’ve saved all my wages up for a trip I’m planning next year before I go to uni — to the Galápagos Islands! I want to volunteer in conservation there. It’s something I’ve always wanted to do, I’d love to do that as a job further down the line. Plus I want to have a holiday there as it’s a beautiful place!

The café is so local to me. I knew of the Mizen Foundation before, but not as much as I do now. It seemed like a really nice place. I’ve learnt that young people who aren’t as fortunate as me, or don’t have a supportive family like I do — what a negative impact that can have on their lives. For me, the Mizen Foundation is about how we can change that for the better, and make people happier. We talk about working for peace — I think peace is about being happy as a person. Making more people in the world happy and giving them a better life.

“You can’t worry about what other people are thinking, you need to step up and be quick to learn. I wasn’t good at talking to strangers and now I’m much better.”

I joined a new school last September for the start of Sixth Form (Dartford Grammar Boys’ School) — and they made me Head Girl in January! I didn’t expect it at all. I’m quite a quiet person but I didn’t want to get lost in the numbers, so I started helping out at parents’ evenings and music events. The school picked up on it and I had an interview — then they offered it to me. I’ve gained a lot of confidence from working in the café, because you have to interact with people you don’t know and get on with things. You can’t think “oh, I can’t do this.” You can’t worry about what other people are thinking, you need to step up and be quick to learn. I wasn’t good at talking to strangers and now I’m much better.

“I wanted to put something back”

Deborah Watkins is a great supporter of ours, and nominated Margaret for her honorary doctorate at The University of Greenwich

I was very emotional on the day that Margaret got her honorary doctorate. Having this family in the midst of us, in our hearts, reminds us to seize the day. Carpe Diem. If you’re not careful — you go along, you work hard, you put one foot in front of the other. And sometimes you forget to cherish your opportunities, the people around you, your family. Every day I walk past a picture of Jimmy, who died at 16, and I’m reminded that I have two precious, amazing sons. I’m reminded to treat them as well as I possibly can. I’m also reminded to treat all the other people I come across in the same way.

Just this morning — I saw a boy in a hoody as I was driving my son to school – I tried to give him my best smile. Whereas if you follow the stereotype, you might think — oh it’s a boy in a hoody. Now, because of Margaret and the Mizen Foundation, I wonder what’s his story? How’s his day going? It changes the quality of your relationships with friends, family and strangers.

I wanted to put something back into the Mizen Foundation – because of the impact it’s had on my life. I come to Good Hope café a lot. It’s fantastic, and you’re encouraged to come and meet people in this community space. I nominated Margaret because she’s an inspiration to us all. She’s become an educator who is able to profoundly change lives through her words and presence. She is a figure of strength, hope, courage and determination. And I’m delighted that the University of Greenwich agrees with me!

Margaret Mizen MBE was awarded an honorary degree from The University of Greenwich in October 2014. She is now an Honorary Doctor of the University (HonDUniv), in recognition of her work in public service on a local and national level.

“I don’t know what I’d do without it”

Jimmy’s younger brother, George, won the 2014 Local Family Hero Award for his work with the Mizen Foundation

I was eight when my brother, Jimmy, was murdered back in 2008. I’ve been involved with the Mizen Foundation from the very beginning and I love working here. It’s my life really. I don’t know what I’d do without it.

I never thought I’d win an award, but I feel proud to have been given it because I have done something for my community. I won it for the whole of London and that’s what made me feel quite special, because there are only 12 awards altogether. I also got it for caring for my sister, Samantha, who has Down’s Syndrome.

On Sundays, I volunteer at the Good Hope café and on Saturdays, I meet with our Young Citizens group. We’re a small group who have started to take on different community projects.

This year, we’re refurbishing a local London park in Bellingham Green. We’ll place one tree in the middle of the park that represents everyone joined in peace, with the hope that this will bring the local community together.

Alongside helping out whenever I can after school or on weekends. I help fundraise for events like 21 Bridges, Sparkle 2015 and quiz nights. In September I’ll go to college, however, I also want to spend more time working here when I leave school.

It’s a privilege that I’m keeping the memory of my brother alive, and I want to continue to be a part of, and promote the Foundation.

“I felt like I was actually making a difference”

By Matthew Broderick, who recently did work experience at the Mizen Foundation office

I first heard about the Mizen Foundation when I was at school and Margaret came to visit, explaining the Peace Cloth and who Jimmy was. The assemblies were really engaging and putting my hand on Jimmy’s Peace Cloth really felt like I was helping and making a change in our community.

“I felt like I was actually making a difference and giving back to my community, meeting the young advisors and then being there as they announced the new Young Mayor of Lewisham.”

I got some work experience with Lewisham Young Mayor’s Team — helping with the elections. I felt like I was actually making a difference and giving back to my community, meeting the young advisors and then being there as they announced the new Young Mayor of Lewisham.

I spent two of my days at the Mizen Foundation in Hither Green. Everyone there was so welcoming, making the atmosphere feel very comfortable and relaxed for an office. I was ready to accept any work they gave me — I wanted to help as much as I could. My first job was to make a list of schools in Lambeth and Southwark. Although work might be tedious at times, the outcome of feeling helpful and appreciated is always worth it! At lunchtimes I went next door to the very beautifully designed Good Hope café, run by one of Jimmy’s brothers. I ate one of the best bacon sandwiches I have ever had and met some of the kindest workers!

“Ten thousand cheers for Jimmy”

Terry Reese is a lifelong Millwall fan and supporter of the Mizen Foundation

We’re one big family at Millwall, and because Jimmy was one of us, we feel proud to pull together and support his legacy. I’ve been a Millwall fan for 46 years now, ever since my dad first took me as a young kid. The club has a bad reputation within the football world, but few people realise the positive work we do as supporters.

Jimmy’s Day see’s everyone from directors, players and fans across the whole club rally round to support the annual event held at Millwall. Usually on game day I’m joining them, making sure everyone has wristbands, leaflets and collecting money in buckets. But this year Jimmy’s Day was different. I was very honoured to be invited up to the executive suite to have dinner with Barry and Margaret. My wife and I are now proud to call them good friends.

The idea to support the Mizen Foundation came from a conversation I had with Harry Mizen at my daughters Alex’s 18th birthday party. I suggested yearly events to raise money for the foundation via our Millwall fans Facebook group. This year we expect the total money raised for the foundation since 2012 to exceed £5,500, alongside some great help from Ayse Smith Coates from The Lion Roars fanzine.

When you hear 10,000 fans cheering for Jimmy, it makes you realise that it’s not just about raising money for the foundation. It’s about remembering and spreading Jimmy’s legacy of peace.

You can see a BBC video of the day here.

“A peaceful response will bring about change”

Keith Everson is Chair of Trustees at the Mizen Foundation

I’ve been involved in a lot of charitable work over the years, but it all took on a new meaning when I became the Chair of Trustees at the Mizen Foundation.

Barry and Margaret Mizen (my cousin) lost their 16-year-old son, Jimmy, in 2008 when he was murdered by a 19-year-old in southeast London. It was a senseless and shocking crime, but Margaret and Barry’s quiet dignity, during and after the ordeal, moved the nation.

They spoke openly of their grief and empathy for the family of Jake Fahri, who was convicted of Jimmy’s murder. They called for peace, asking Britain to make society a safer place  —  and their courage at a time of such pain meant the horrific crime had a positive legacy.

What was incredible was that Barry and Margaret tried to understand Jake Fahri’s situation, and saw that his problems had built up ‘little by little’. With a unique view of the criminal justice system, the couple set out to change young lives and do everything they could to prevent such a thing from happening again.

“I’m in awe of the Mizen family’s strength and what they have accomplished. I don’t know whether I could have responded in the same way…”

‘A peaceful response will bring about change,’ Margaret said to me. And since Jimmy’s death, his parents have visited many hundreds of schools, speaking to thousands of children about violence and the consequences of crime. They also visit young offenders and prisons.

Endlessly reliving the horrific events of May 2008 hasn’t been easy for the Mizen family, but they are determined to create something good in Jimmy’s name. Barry and Margaret even made a pact not to cry in public because they ‘don’t want people’s pity’.

‘We can scream and shout but it won’t bring anybody back,’ says Margaret. So in their work, she and Barry have made a very real difference to those who are still alive.

I’m in awe of the Mizen family’s strength and what they have accomplished. I don’t know whether I could have responded in the same way if I had lost one of my children in such tragic circumstances. But at least as Chair of Trustees I have been able to help in some way.

The Mizen Foundation campaign is not complicated. Nor is it revolutionary. They simply want children and teenagers to contribute to their community to make it a safer, better place. Will you help them?

“One simple step in the right direction”

Ron Stoddart signed up to the Safe Havens Pilot with his restaurant Star Jerk Hut on Deptford High St

In December 2013, Simon from the Mizen Foundation came into my restaurant to explain what the Safe Haven scheme was all about and how we could get involved. We represent the community in a sense, and being a member of that community, it seemed quite an obvious thing for us to take part in.

Prevention is better than cure, so if we can have more facilities for young people, then they will know where to go when they feel insecure on the streets. It’s also a good way to help tackle bullying, not just in school but on the streets. Luckily, touch wood, we’ve not actually had any incidents yet.

I have two young children so their safety is a concern of mine. The world is a small place, even though it appears to be big, so we need to work more closely as a family. This scheme is spreading the values of family and looking after each other, which is something we want to see in our community to make it safe. You don’t just learn in school, you’re moulded into becoming good citizens based on the community that you’re in and the atmosphere in that community. I still think there is more to be done, but it’s best to start somewhere rather than nowhere.

“They say that a journey of a thousand miles begins with one simple step, so this is one simple step in the right direction to creating a safer community, which is brilliant.”

In 2014 the Mizen Foundation facilitated a Community Partnership to launch the Deptford Safe Haven Pilot. (Mizen Foundation, Lewisham Business Against Crime (LBBAC), Lewisham Council, Lewisham Young Mayor Team, Lewisham Police, Second Wave, every Lewisham Secondary School and a number of other local community and faith groups).

A Safe Haven is a place where people work in partnership to report and discourage crime and anti-social behaviour and to offer temporary shelter to young people in immediate danger. We’ve already launched Safe Havens throughout Lewisham Borough. It’s our volunteers and donors that make this possible. Please support us so we can continue to make our communities safer.

“I’m loving every minute of it”

Emma Collins, 21, has just started her Apprenticeship with our Good Hope Festivals team

I’ve known the Mizen family since I was really young. We’ve all lived in the same community for a long time and I’ve always been interested in the work that the foundation does. As I’m a young person living in Lewisham, the work they do directly affects me and I think it’s incredibly important to the London community as a whole.

Working at the Mizen Foundation so far has been great. It’s given me the freedom to find my feet. Having previously worked in a theatre for two years, I’m no stranger to the busy world of events, however, this is an opportunity for me to experience a new area of the industry. Tommy (the Director of Good Hope Festival) will assign me tasks but at the same time I’m able to discover techniques and industry methods out for myself. The training opportunities I’ve had so far have been really helpful in this respect.

“I’m loving every minute”

I found out about the Apprenticeship through my childhood friend, Sorrelle, who told me about it after she bumped into Tommy and started volunteering herself. So I volunteered too — and then applied for the apprenticeship soon after.

The main thing I’m working on is Good Hope Festival which is happening in Blackheath. It’s a two-day interactive family experience. For us we wanted it to be more than a music festival — by creating all these different zones, and interactive family experiences for everyone, you’ll never be bored! We also think it’s a unique experience for London.

But we’re also planning to run more ‘Good Sessions’ — a free, regular series of acoustic music, coffee and live poetry which started as a way to source upcoming musicians, and now it’s become a main feature on the calendar. We just organised some live musicians at Blackheath Village Day too — we handed out surveys to see how they would like to see positive change in their community.

The music events industry is really hard to get into — this apprenticeship has given me a foot in the door, and it’s also a really unique opportunity to do it within a charity too. I’m loving every minute of it.

“I remember the kids high fiving the crowd”

Carol Barthram is part of the Mizen Foundation’s Fundraising Committee. She organised our participation in the Lord Mayor’s Show 2014

It’s been a life-long ambition of mine to be in the Lord Mayor’s Show. I used to go a lot with my parents and with my kids when they were little. We hadn’t gone for years — then last year we had nothing to do on a Saturday afternoon and went to watch it. Despite the rain dripping off the end of our noses we had a great time! It was my son Nick’s idea for the foundation to take part. So I proposed it and the trustees accepted!

I spent probably eight months organising it (with lots of help, especially from Kerry Nickols). We wanted the young people to be central — and to be from schools with a connection to the Foundation. So we had pupils from Coopers Lane School (I’m the Resources Manager there!), St Matthew Academy, St Andrew’s and Athelney and Elfrida Primary Schools. About 50 of us (35 young people) marched with banners, Jimmy’s Peace Car and a Jimmy Bus through the City of London.

When you get to Mansion House, (after a bit of waiting around), it’s game face on, smile and wave, the TV cameras are there. In that moment, I nearly burst into tears. I was emotional about it all. The fact that we were actually there, it was the biggest thing I’d ever organised, the excitement of being in it. That for me was the best bit.

It was a real privilege to be part of it — it’s quite unusual for a small charity to be involved. It really was a blast, I remember the kids high fiving the crowds. But also, it was obvious how many people knew about Jimmy. We had spontaneous rounds of applause, people looking and pointing at Jimmy’s picture. That moment of recognition. People were part of the story already.

One of the boys from my school has worn his white fleece every day since then — shows how proud he is. Hopefully we’ll be able to take part next year as it’s the 800th anniversary!

“Young people have had their first job with us”

Danny Mizen is the Director of Cafés and a former Trustee at the Mizen Foundation

The Good Hope café in Hither Green used to be my dad’s car spares shop. It has a lot of family history. He’s owned it for about 40 years — that’s actually how my mum and dad met. Mum used to walk past it every day on her way into town so they got talking. When we started the Mizen Foundation in 2009 that shop was empty — and as myself and my brothers have a background in hospitality, we thought we’d set up a café there to make money for the charity. We wanted an independent source of funding — any profits raised go straight to the Mizen Foundation. At the time there were no other cafés in the area, Hither Green needed one!

We also realised it wasn’t just a money maker, but also had the potential to give young people opportunities. It’s become a great tool for young people starting off their work life. Especially in a borough like Lewisham that’s had the highest level of youth unemployment in the country. I’m really proud that 21 young people from Lewisham (aged 14–21) have had their first job with us. And it’s not just a job, we share Jimmy’s story with them, and we give them coffee training and their hygiene certificate. They learn to be on time, to dress smartly, and gain customer service skills. We’re planning on helping them out with interview skills and CVs too so they’re set for the future. Our young people have done an amazing job — in 2014 Good Hope café was voted the best café in SE13 by Time Out.

Another thing I’m really proud of is our work with Drumbeat school. They’re a special educational needs school in Lewisham — they came to us at the end of 2012, as they were struggling to find work experience placements for their students. We’ve been really impressed with them and we’re now providing four students one day’s work experience a week. This work has family significance too as our 28-year-old younger sister Sam has Down’s Syndrome. Before Jimmy died we actually wanted to open a café in Ladywell, to provide a space for young people with special needs and their parents. We’ve now come full circle with our Ten Thousand Hands café in that same location so it’s very close to the family’s heart.

From sitting round our kitchen table — how we’ve moved on in seven years since Jimmy died is unbelievable. We now have three Good Hope cafés in Lewisham — and would love to open more!

“Calling for peace  is not complicated”

Keith Everson is Chair of Trustees at the Mizen Foundation

I’ve been involved in a lot of charitable work over the years, but it all took on a new meaning when I became the Chair of Trustees at the Mizen Foundation.

Barry and Margaret Mizen (my cousin) lost their 16-year-old son, Jimmy, in 2008 when he was murdered by a 19-year-old in southeast London. It was a senseless and shocking crime, but Margaret and Barry’s quiet dignity, during and after the ordeal, moved the nation.

They spoke openly of their grief and empathy for the family of Jake Fahri, who was convicted of Jimmy’s murder. They called for peace, asking Britain to make society a safer place — and their courage at a time of such pain meant the horrific crime had a positive legacy.

What was incredible was that Barry and Margaret tried to understand Jake Fahri’s situation, and saw that his problems had built up ‘little by little’. With a unique view of the criminal justice system, the couple set out to change young lives and do everything they could to prevent such a thing from happening again.

‘A peaceful response will bring about change,’ Margaret said to me. And since Jimmy’s death, his parents have visited many hundreds of schools, speaking to thousands of children about violence and the consequences of crime. They also visit young offenders and prisons.

Endlessly reliving the horrific events of May 2008 hasn’t been easy for the Mizen family, but they are determined to create something good in Jimmy’s name. Barry and Margaret even made a pact not to cry in public because they ‘don’t want people’s pity’.

‘We can scream and shout but it won’t bring anybody back,’ says Margaret. So in their work, she and Barry have made a very real difference to those who are still alive.

I’m in awe of the Mizen family’s strength and what they have accomplished. I don’t know whether I could have responded in the same way if I had lost one of my children in such tragic circumstances. But at least as Chair of Trustees I have been able to help in some way.

The Mizen Foundation’s campaign is not complicated. Nor is it revolutionary. They simply want children and teenagers to contribute to their community to make it a safer, better place. Will you help them?

“Together we can build a culture of peace”

Cardinal Vincent Nichols is the Patron of the Mizen Foundation and wrote this for Jimmy’s fifth anniversary memorial

The murder of Jimmy Mizen in 2008 was a tragedy that should never have happened. No one could have predicted such a random and unprovoked attack. Many of us probably feel powerless to do anything to prevent such a tragedy happening again. However, inspired by the belief that good can come from evil, Jimmy’s family has worked tirelessly to promote a culture of peace. By proclaiming a message of forgiveness, the family show what true victory over violence looks like. The Mizen Foundation now provides us all with a powerful example of how to respond to violence in our society. Its work with young people is especially valuable.

By sharing Jimmy’s story with young people, the Mizen Foundation allows them to see the catastrophic effects of violence. The Mizen Foundation also extols the principles needed to build up the common good: the promotion of peace, commitment to solidarity, participation in community, a preferential option for the less fortunate, and a respect for the dignity and potential of every human being. Moreover, convinced of the goodness and potential of all young people, the Mizen Foundation enables them to identify and fulfil their God-given talents by encouraging them to find positive ways to spend their time and helping them into work. In short, the Mizen Foundation makes our streets safer places and helps create a society in which everyone can flourish.

I readily commend the Mizen Foundation because all of us – individuals, families, organisations and community leaders – can be both inspired by it and learn from it, so that together we can build a culture of peace.

Cardinal Vincent Nichols

Archbishop of Westminster
Patron of the Mizen Foundation