Stephen Lawrence Trust launch 18:18 charity fund


It has been a long 18 years for the family of murdered teenager Stephen Lawrence in their fight for justice and to find those responsible for his death.

Two men, Gary Dobson, 36, and David Norris, 34, are set to stand trial next month for Stephen's murder at a bus stop in Eltham, south-east London in April 1993.

It has been a tough journey for Stephen's family, who have fought tirelessly over the years to not only bring his killers to justice, but also preserve the memory of their son, who was 18 years old when he died.

The Stephen Lawrence Trust was formed in 1998 with a commitment to help young people from diverse, disadvantaged backgrounds to help them break social and economic barriers to pursue a career in architecture and urban design, Stephen's chosen career path.

The Trust has awarded nearly 100 bursaries and seen eight "Stephens" qualify as architects.

And now Doreen Lawrence has launched a new campaign on the 18th anniversary of her son's death, aiming to raise £1m over the next 12 months to help disadvantaged young people to achieve their dreams.

The 18:18 Access and Opportunity Fund will work on a similar model to the Trust's drive in helping youngsters become architects, by giving support to those wanting to get jobs in other competitive areas.

Mrs Lawrence said,

"We know that other professions are under-represented so we just want to see how we can support young people to get into other professions such as law, finance, media, and in order to do that we need to raise as much funds as possible."

The fund was launched at a glittering gala dinner last Thursday (20) and has the support of singers Annie Lennox and Beverley Knight as well as Labour leader Ed Miliband and Home Secretary Theresa May.

Mrs Lawrence said dealing with her son's death has been hard but has been overwhelmed that he has had such a positive impact on people's lives.

She added,

"In the early stages all my focus and concentration was focused around how do we get justice for Stephen - how do we get people to listen and be angry about what happened to Stephen. But as time goes by you realise there is so much more. Stephen wasn't just a name, he was a person. And because of all the things that he wanted to do I wanted to help and support other young people. Justice has been hard to come by for the Lawrence family nearly two decades after his murder, but his family has made sure not only has Stephen not been forgotten, but something good can come out of a terrible situation."

To find out more about the Stephen Lawrence Trust and the 18:18 Access and Opportunity Fund, click here.

Picture: Stephen Lawrence