On 22 April 2019, Volunteer Police Cadet (VPC) units in partnership with the Stephen Lawrence Charitable Trust joined community groups and schools across the UK to celebrate the first national Stephen Lawrence Day.
Commemorating the life of teenager Stephen Lawrence, who was killed in an unprovoked racist attack, the day is an opportunity for children and young people to make their voices heard, be the change they want to see, and help create a society that treats everyone with fairness and respect.
As part of the day’s positive message, the Stephen Lawrence Charitable Trust and the national Volunteer Police Cadets joined together to design and develop youth-led social action projects, to positively improve the lives of people living in their local communities, challenge negative perceptions and make a difference.
For #SLDay 2019, this included VPC units from London's Metropolitan Police Service (Lewisham, Tower Hamlets, Southwark and Sutton) who met at New Scotland Yard for a day of youth led social action planning and discussion, as did units in Greater Manchester Police, Hampshire & Surrey (led by Police & Crime Commissioner David Munro).
In Nottinghamshire, a big community event bringing together police teams, VPCs, families, community members, local youth groups and dance groups took place, with Chelsea Way from the Stephen Lawrence Trust, which was a great success.
The training was supported by a booklet which anyone enthusiastic about starting their own project can use to help them identify a local issue they want to address and think through how to tackle it.
Ed Sherry OBE, national VPC Director said ‘We are very proud to be involved in marking the first Stephen Lawrence Day. Our Cadets already run many different social action projects and volunteering. Working with our Stephen Lawrence Charitable Trust partners will not only help to build their skills and confidence, but will also increase the impact they are able to have locally.’ In future years building on the success of our partnership with the Stephen Lawrence trust, the VPC reach and extension to more units in more Forces nationally.
Baroness Lawrence said: “Stephen’s story is both challenging and inspirational. Through Stephen Lawrence Day, I hope that his life and legacy will inspire children and young people everywhere to make positive choices in their life and to play an active role in building strong communities.”
Stephen Lawrence Day - facts and background
In April 2018, during the memorial service held to mark the 25th anniversary of Stephen Lawrence’s murder, Prime Minister Theresa May announced that every year, the 22nd April will be national Stephen Lawrence Day.
The Prime Minister said that Stephen Lawrence Day will be “an opportunity for young people to use their voices and should be embedded in our education and wider system regardless of the government of the day.” She went on to say, “We will use this day to encourage and support young people in achieving their dreams, and to reflect on Stephen’s life, death and the positive change he has inspired.”
The objectives of the day are to:
- Inspire and support children and young people to make choices in their life and act in ways that enable themselves and others to live their best life.
• Encourage and enable children and young people to play an active role in their communities, building stronger communities in which everyone can flourish.
• Give children and young people a strong voice in driving social change and creating a society that treats everyone with fairness and respect.
For more information or feedback please contact the National Volunteer Police Cadets team by email VPC.firstname.lastname@example.org