ARTICLE: Power to Change at the Marcus Lipton Centre
March 5th, 2022, Marcus Lipton Centre, Loughborough Junction, London UK
In March 2002 Celebrate Life took Power to Change out of a cinema for the first time and screened it right in the heart of the community where it belongs. We were hosted by Marcus Lipton Youth Centre, in collaboration with Ecosystem Coldharbour, and the Young People’s Movement.
The Marcus Lipton Centre in Loughborough Junction is inconspicuous from the outside, but is well known on the Loughborough Estate. Here is an extract from Ciaran Thapar’s article in the Guardian about a tragic incident that happened a couple of years ago:
‘On 21 February 2019, two young men ran into the Marcus Lipton youth centre in south London on a busy Thursday and stabbed 23-year-old Glendon Spence to death. The tragedy sent shockwaves across my community in Loughborough Junction.
Faced with intergenerational cycles of neglect and disadvantage, young people have for decades considered the youth centre as a second home. Glendon’s murder was a sharp reminder that, in modern Britain, street violence can pierce even the most resilient of spaces; another loved soul frozen in time…
Marcus Lipton reopened in September 2019, a month before Glendon’s killer was found guilty of murder and jailed for a minimum of 18 years. There is no bolder symbol of London’s bleak condition than the bulletproof glass door now installed at its entrance. But every week that passes brings a growing sense of hope. Our staff have been steadily rebuilding engagement, with local young people visiting in greater numbers.
The weekly programme of interventions provides a range of support for visitors seeking education, training and career advice. More simply, it is a space which young people can call their own, relax and hang out with friends away from the volatile streets.'
The event included music from Tito, poems from Errol McGlashan, audience Q&A and delicious food provided by Maureen Tynes.
Here are some of the comments from the audience after the event:
'The forgiveness part really got to me. Hearing Lorraine talking about the loss of her child and how as a Mother she would forgive the person who murdered her son, made me think who am I not to forgive the person who harmed me? I’m still alive, so I can forgive.'
'The most important part of the film is to do with empowering yourself, right? And knowing you have the ability to take control of your situation given the right tools and means to do so. It’s such a difficult thing to do. It’s something I’ve spent a lot of time, many many years trying to master, and I’m now in my late twenties and I’m still trying to fully figure it out for the first time.'
'I thought it was really powerful, I didn’t know what to expect. I didn’t realise quite how moving it was going to be. It follows 5 people who have been involved with knife crime in one way or another and yet I came out of it with a real sense of hope.'
'I am grateful that I got the opportunity to learn about forgiveness, and just welcome such peace that you can actually find within yourself. I am just so grateful. I really want people in my community to hear about this. I will be telling people, I will spreading the word and sharing it because I want my community to be supported through these messages.
People are going through so much, people are struggling. Not just financially, but to find themselves, to find their peace. And who do we speak to? How do we hear these things?
I’m just grateful that I came. I am fulfilled.'