London Gang Rehabilitation
The seventh winner of Ideas for London, a competition in association with the London Evening Standard to discover Londoners’ most remarkable ideas for the capital
Karl Lokko, who describes himself as a reformed gang member, won a night in the Room with an idea for helping people leave the lifestyle of gangsterism
August's idealist Karl Lokko
What’s your idea?
My idea is a therapeutic community gang rehabilitation centre to be built in inner city London, in order to help tackle the fast growing gang culture that is affecting so many communities within in the capital. Those who undergo the treatment will have their negative behaviour challenged and changed through counselling and tailored workshops. The culture within the centre will be instilled in the residents through their everyday lives, a culture which promotes and esteems being an asset to society and not a liability.
When were the first seeds of the idea sown?
The first seeds of this idea were sown when I myself had been successfully rehabilitated. A woman that was the pastor of a local church in my area had a true concern for the youth directly affected by the gang culture and began to reach out to us. She opened her home and by creating an environment of love, order and hope began freeing our minds from the captivity of gangsterism. All who changed under her care were and still are living proof that there is hope and at that moment I had a vision which will be a burden until manifestation, to make this treatment accessible to others on a larger scale.
Who have you invited to dinner in a room for London to help develop the idea?
1. Rev Mimi Asher, Pastor of Word of Grace Ministry and Founder, Youth in Action
2. David Utting, Commission Secretary of the Commission on Youth Crime
3. John Adlam, Consultant Adult Forensic Psychotherapist, South London and Maudsley Foundation NHS Trust
4. John Sutherland, Chief Superintendent and Acting Borough Commander for Camden
5. Christian Guy, Managing Director, Centre for Social Justice
6. Dr Charlie Alcock, CEO and Founder, MAC UK
What single thing would you like to happen that evening to help your idea get off the ground?
I would like to get all that attend the meeting to see the true worth of such a treatment, enabling them to see those that are entangled in the gang culture as individuals addicted to a negative lifestyle thus needing to be rehabilitated. And hopefully once they have acknowledged this they will desire to take a supportive stance, offering their time, advice and connections.
How would you describe your relationship to London?
I describe my relationship to London as very intimate, I’ve always loved being identified as a Londoner but my love never really went past my direct community and the area I lived in. But as I’ve grown on my journey I’ve fallen in love with all of London! I truly believe, or should I say I know, it’s one of the best capitals in the world! But there’s no such thing as perfection and even the King’s robe has its creases, but I have faith that this great city has what it takes to iron a lot of them out! I love London.
How are you feeling about spending the night on board?
I’m excited, truly looking forward to the whole experience and I’m already buzzing from its potential to spark a great change. I’m honoured to have been presented this opportunity and no matter the outcome it's one I will savour forever.