KPU and the City of Surrey partner on new SAFE Centre at KPU Civic Plaza
Kwantlen Polytechnic University (KPU) will partner with a range of community organizations to support a new anti-gang program in Surrey.
Led by the City of Surrey and funded by $7.5 million from the Government of Canada, the Surrey Anti-Gang Family Empowerment (SAFE) program will address gaps in existing services, build on effective existing programs and coordinate support for families across agencies.
The program will be based in the SAFE Centre at KPU Civic Plaza, where the partners can collaborate to support children, youth and families. Up to 4,730 high-school-aged young people in the City of Surrey are expected to benefit from this project.
“From the outset we envisioned that KPU Civic Plaza would become a hub for community engagement and collaboration, and this announcement brings that vision to life,” said KPU President Dr. Alan Davis. “We are excited to partner with the City of Surrey to host the SAFE Centre collaboration hub on the top floor of our new Downtown Surrey campus, right next door to Surrey City Hall.
“We are in the process of finalizing those arrangements with the City of Surrey, and we look forward to opportunities for our students and faculty to participate in the SAFE program. This is a great example of thought meeting action to make a difference in our communities.”
The SAFE program was developed out of the findings of the Mayor's Task Force on Gang Violence Prevention, which reported in July 2018.
Federal funding came through the National Crime Prevention Strategy, which backs programs that reach out to young people through schools, community centres and neighbourhood organizations to help steer them away from drugs, gangs and other potentially harmful activities. It also helps programs that provide counselling and support to build stronger communities.
The SAFE program will include the creation of a Children and Youth at Risk Table that brings together partners on a weekly basis to ensure interventions are coordinated for maximum impact. It will provide support to young women exiting unhealthy, sexually exploitive relationships; and provide support to parents to strengthen relationships and positive cultural attachment for at-risk young people who may be lured into joining a gang.
Picture courtesy of the City of Surrey