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Stephen Lawrence Trust crying out for help

PUBLISHED: 11:44 12 January 2012

Paul Anderson

Paul Anderson

Archant

»The Stephen Lawrence Charitable Trust is crying out for help.

Despite hundreds of residents and celebrities getting behind the cause following the conviction of two men for the brutal murder 18 years ago in Eltham, it remains in desperate need of cash.

Just three months ago, a £1million high-profile fundraising campaign was launched announcing that it was under threat of closure.

Limelight

But having been thrust back into the limelight following the imprisonment of Gary Dobson and David Norris, the financial situation has only marginally improved.

In October, the managing director said it would be a “disaster” if it closed due to lack of public funding, but despite this week doubling their followers on social networking site Twitter to more than 3,200, they have failed to gain a dramatic rise in donations.

Paul Anderson-Walsh who has worked closely with the Lawrence family, supporting them through the recent court case, said: “We are going through a difficult landscape, which we’re trying to battle through.

“We need people’s support, it’s a fantastic opportunity to do some really wonderful work here but that work will fall away if we don’t have the funds to do it.

“It would be terrible for the community if we closed. It’s such a powerful force for the public but if it was to be lost it would be a disaster.

“With our emphasis on social justice, we feel very strongly about it.

“We do an immense amount of work within the community and we are a very important part of the community, we want to make people aware that it’s a centre worth saving.”

Images of the aspiring teenage architect and Blackheath Bluecoat School A-level student adorn the walls of the Deptford-based centre as do powerful photographs of his parents Doreen and Neville Lawrence meeting with Nelson Mandela in 1998.

The organisation was set up 14 years ago and has so far provided 100 bursaries for architecture students from socially disadvantaged backgrounds.

But it offers so much more, a new bursary scheme for two journalism students was announced this week following sponsorship from the Daily Mail.

Pensioners have also benefited with the IT classes aimed at teaching them how to use the internet and art psychotherapy sessions for teenagers to explore complex emotions.

Empowering

“Stephen has become a social justice architect in his death,” Mr Anderson-Walsh continued.

“This is a story about criminal justice being served through the courts and social justice.

“Had he got on the bus that night, he would have faced a series of deadening social concerns, and what we are trying to do at the trust is to open the door to people who are socially disadvantaged.”

The Stephen Lawrence Charitable Trust has come to symbolize the enduring fight for justice the family have spent the entire length of his lifetime campaigning for.

Which is why it is a centre for social justice, offering opportunities to those who would otherwise be faced with a series of obstacles and empowering the community to gain skills to help themselves.

However, if this trust is to flourish it needs the financial backing to match its aspirations.

Courses and classes on offer at the trust

A job club for the unemployed provides online resources and employment support running every Tuesday.

Art therapy classes for 14 to 17-year-olds in the borough of Lewisham uses art materials to explore emotions in a non-verbal medium.

Painting, ceramics and drawing classes for adults take place every Friday and feature guest artists and tutors offering tips and support.

Selected work from the group will be exhibited at the centre in May.

One day free courses in stress management, leadership and management, well women workshops and more.

Courses are free but booking is essential. For more information and to register contact Doreen Thompson-Addo on 020 8100 2816 or email doreen.ta@stephenlawrence.org.uk

An apprenticeship open day for 16 to 24-year-olds will take place on Monday February 6 with opportunities ranging from business administration, construction and creative arts.

Architecture and journalism bursaries are available for students from disadvantaged socio-economic backgrounds.

An exhibition celebrating the works of contemporary photographers from Central Asia is currently on display at the centre.

It has been curated by Hana Smeeth, and includes the works of Aziza Karieva, Khurshid Raupov, Madina Turdieva, Sardor Shaahmetov and Hurshida Hamdamova.

Follow the trust on Twitter @S_LawrenceTrust

Call 020 8100 2800 or emal info@stephenlawrence.org.uk

To donate to the 18:18 campaign go to www.justgiving.com/donation/direct?process=1&queryId=YwBoAGEAcgBpAHQAeQA9ADEAMgAyADQAOAA4AA

For more information about the work of the trust visit www.stephenlawrence.org.uk or write to The Stephen Lawrence Charitable Trust, 39 Brookmill Road, London SE8 4HU.

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