Tracey Ford | Award Finalist 2015
Tracey Ford is the Founding Director of JAGS Foundation.
In February 2007, she was running her own business, and looking after her children Becky (14) and Andre (17). When Andre was shot dead at a friend’s ice-skating party in Streatham; Tracey officially launched the JAGS Foundation an acronym forged from her son’s name James Andre Godfrey Smartt-Ford in 2010 after years of telling her story — in the month Andre died, three other children were killed by other children that year 28 youngsters were killed in London and 27 children the next year. Tracey decided to give up her business to create a peer support group for bereaved mother’s families of murdered children because of the lack of support she received when Andre was murdered from services not available this meets regularly and explores different ways of dealing with loss and that’s how JAGS came about.
Tracey has faced many obstacles, feelings of isolation rejection and many closed doors but with the help and support of Women like Iffat (STARR) and other organisations like Marie (STORM) who gave her valuable advice, connections, information and office space to start up she was able to grow and develop the foundation more. Despite what life has thrown at Tracey living with the memory everyday of her son she gets up early and goes to bed late she never turns off her phone and answers all calls and messages and responds to emails straight away working evenings and weekends with one goal in mind of helping to save another young person’s life. JAGS has no core funding and survives on limited
donations fundraising and charitable requests however Tracey keeps going with one thing in mind to keep hope alive in those affected by youth violence JAGS has since evolved and Tracey has become an inspirational speaker and has shared her personal story and has been invited to speak or give her advice on countless occasions in Schools, University’s Prisons, Police consultations, local Borough Council meetings government round table meetings, local organisation events, community events up and down the country and the list could go on but whenever she is asked to attend such functions she never refuses. Tracey has devised a few programmes that she delivers in schools one being CARE for Girls to support young girls at risk of being caught up in gang culture many young girls are at great risk because of boyfriends, brothers, or cousins, and some have been gang-raped or sexually exploited but are too frightened to seek help. We create a safe space for the girls to open up. It’s about helping girls understand what is unacceptable and that they don’t have to be silenced, to support and to empower them, develop the confidence and self-esteem to have their voices heard and to avoid gangs altogether this is taken in schools or agencies helping vulnerable young women.
Tracey campaigns tirelessly and delivers workshops nationally raising the awareness of youth on youth violence, youth murder and knife crime which causes a huge ripple effect that continues to devastate many families, friends and the local communities that we live in.