'It is seen as the norm to smoke weed and vape - that’s just society today'

Kellie Lawton from New Horizons charity.
-Credit: (Image: Andrew Teebay)


A mum is hoping to help deter youngsters from getting involved in gang culture across Merseyside.

Kellie Lawton, from Belle Vale, is the brains behind New Horizons - a community interest company aimed at improving life outcomes for the next generation in deprived areas. The 43-year-old, who lives in Speke, was a teacher for over a decade and always found herself being “drawn to the naughty kids”.

As a result, she felt she “had more to offer” and since then has been helping those at risk of exploitation or becoming disengaged from education. The mum-of-three told the ECHO: “I came across one young girl who hadn’t been in education for three years until she met me. She has just finished year 11 now and is going to college and helps me deliver workshops.

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“Mainstream school is mainly about academic ability and there are so many kids who aren’t there with potential who don’t have that ability.” Kellie now works within local communities, providing enrichment and education to vulnerable members of the community.

So far she has made a difference in Netherley and Walton Village. She visited both “hotspots” on Friday and Saturday nights for several weeks, asking teenagers involved in anti-social behaviour how the areas could be improved for people their age.

Kellie Lawton from New Horizons charity.
Kellie Lawton from New Horizons charity. -Credit:Andrew Teebay

She said: “Unfortunately, it is seen as the norm to smoke weed and vape. That’s just society today. It’s so easy for people to ask young ones to go and drop off some weed in a park in return for a vape. They are pressured and they go and do it and then that leads to bigger things. They think there is no other way to make money sometimes because there isn’t always a stable home or positive role models.”

Kellie now has her sights on Garston. The mum was awarded £1,000 by Merseyside Police through the force’s Giving Back to Garston scheme. The money given out was seized from criminals.

The detached youth worker will be putting on a free family day on Sunday, July 7, with dancers, singers and inflatables for the community to enjoy. Kellie hopes this will be the first in a long list of events to combat anti-social behaviour and gang culture in the area.

Inspector Nicola Hamilton, from the local policing team who is also involved in the scheme, said: “Events like this support our ongoing work to tackle anti-social behaviour and crime and give us an opportunity to engage with young people and partners.

“Local organisations will now benefit from the ill-gotten gains of criminals, as this funding will be reinvested into the community to support projects benefiting hundreds of young people in the area.”

The fun day is being at Garston Park between 12 and 4 pm.

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