Young offenders make poppies to pay their debt to society
Young offenders in Hammersmith & Fulham are making thousands of poppies to help the British Legion.
A dozen youngsters, aged between 10 - 18 years old, have spent several sessions with members of Hammersmith and Fulham Council's youth offending team.
In these sessions, they have learned about the issues behind the two world wars and put together the red poppies that are sold to mark Remembrance Sunday inNovember.
The youths plan to make 4,000 more of the distinctive emblems over the course of the next few weeks.
Councillor Antony Lillis, Hammersmith and Fulham Cabinet Member for Community & Children's Services, said: "Our innovative approach is encouraging these young offenders to think about conflict and the effect it has on families,friends and other residents.
"They are doing a great job and they have become very enthusiastic about the poppy making and have set themselves and each other very high standards."
Once the poppies are finished, the young people return the poppies to the Royal British Legion who sell them in the week leading up to Remembrance Sunday.
Some of the young people's knowledge about the Great War and World War II is very sketchy, others have grandparents who fought in the Second World War, but all of them have shown a great dealof interest and their feedback about the project has been very positive.
Laura McCarthy, 17, who attends the poppy making session, said, "To me making the poppies is all about giving some respect to the people whodied fighting for Britain. People who fought for our country helped us and now we are helping them."
Councillor Greg Smith, Hammersmith and Fulham Cabinet Member for Crime & Anti-SocialBehaviour said: "The Royal British Legion safeguards the welfare, interestsand memory of our service men and women who in many cases paid theultimate price for our country.
"The poppy is a powerful symbol ofremembrance and whilst making poppies is no replacement for punishment for their crimes, it does instil in the young offenders a sense ofgiving to society instead of just taking."
November 9, 2007