Free basketball sessions launched as 'anti gang initiative' to fight knife crime in Milton Keynes

A ‘Gang today, Gone tomorrow’, basketball coaching programme launches at The Lakes Estate in Bletchley next week in a bid to combat rising knife crime.

The initiative, organised by the 5 On It Foundation with funding from Milton Keynes Council, will run at the Lakes Estate outdoor basketball court, starting next Friday, July 1.

The slam dunk activity is part of the foundation’s It’s ‘Gang Today Gone Tomorrow’ anti-gang initiative, using sport to encourage young people to stay away from gangs and harvest safety at street level.

Led by basketball legend, Nigel Lloyd, it’s hoped the sessions will offer young people the opportunity to get involved in a fun, physical activity and steer them away from gang culture.

The free sessions will be headed up by basketball legend Nigel Lloyd

Lloyd, who played professionally for six BBL clubs including Birmingham Bullets and London Lions, offers those taking part an opportunity to learn from the best and hopefully develop a love for the sport.

The initiative comes on the back of widespread concern over soaring rates of violence and knife crime in Milton Keynes, resulting in four fatal stabbings in the first three months of 2022.

Bletchley town councillor Dr Shery Delfani calculated that knife crime had soared by 90% in Milton Keynes over the past two years, with at least 10 fatal stabbings during that time.

This rise was greater than London, she said, and particularly worrying was that four of the deaths occurred in the past three months of 2022. She also said MK had the highest overall knife related crime numbers in the whole of the TVP force area.

Dr Delfani has penned a letter to MPs Iain Stewart and Ben Everitt and the Police and Crime Commissioner Matthew Barber to voice her concerns and frustration.

And in September 2021, Mr Barber revealed plans to commit £7.72million to combating anti-social behaviour, stating MK would be allocated £2,098,398 over three years.

> Slam dunk sessions for youngsters aged from seven to 12, will be held on July 1, 8, 15 and 22, from 4pm- 5pm, and from 5pm-6pm for 13-18 year olds,

with prizes up for grabs. Sessions are open to both boys and girls with all levels welcome.

Places are limited so booking is advised. For further information and to book, visit http://5onit.co.uk/basketballatlakes/