Search icon


23rd Dec 2019

Tackling youth crime with Wilfried Zaha

Wilfried Zaha knows the challenges of growing up in Croydon. We visited a custody suite with him to find out how Divert are helping prevent reoffending

Reuben Pinder

Wilf Zaha knows the challenges of growing up in Croydon

After moving to the UK from the Ivory Coast at the age of four, Wilf Zaha spent his youth in the south London borough of Croydon. It was there where he would hone his footballing skills and become a Crystal Palace legend, but it could have been different.

With a dearth of opportunities for young people to find fulfilling employment in the area, many teenagers are sucked in by gang culture. The Met Police have teamed up with the Palace for Life Foundation to deliver ‘Divert’, a programme designed to help people in this situation to find more legal, fulfilling means of making ends meet and consequently prevent reoffending.

JOE visited the custody suite in Croydon with Zaha to find out more about the programme.

“People would easily go to jail, come back out and go back,” Zaha said, recalling his formative years.

Watch the video below to find out more about how Divert is helping to tackle youth crime in Croydon.