Eastenders star Scott Maslen is so horrified by Britain’s knife-crime epidemic that he is taking personal action to fight it.
The actor, who plays Jack Branning in the BBC soap, is working with his local council to give kids a safe place to go.
Already this year there have been more than 40 fatal stabbings in Britain.
He believes giving young people safe spaces will help – and the message he wants to get across to them is: “Life is not s***.”
Scott, 47, said: “I am working now with the council to try and set up a programme about knife crime and get a space set up.
“I want to work on a blueprint so actors and musicians, people in the world that can influence people, can start doing workshops or youth clubs. We want to go to local business for support.
“It’s going well. You have to get everyone involved, like the police. I want to get back to youth clubs and knowing people in your area.”
Scott grew up in Woolwich, south-east London, where life in the 1980s was “s***” because of fierce spending cuts.
“There were not many prospects and I see that being a mirror to what is happening now,” he says. “You get such a barrier between the haves and the have-nots, which ain’t getting smaller.
“The majority of politicians don’t seem to see this massive gap. I am a parent of an 18-year-old son. I care about the kids, but they need discipline.”
Scott is now working with officials in Camden, North London, where one of his own friends was attacked.
He feels an overhaul of youth services is vital. “Everything is being cut,” he said.
“There are a lot of single-parent families and some may not be getting guidance. I want to help the people doing the work. I want to lend myself to them.”
Scott has no time for other soap stars who have lately complained about overwork.
He tells them: “Get a grip. Turn up and put the work in. It is hard work. But go and work on a trawler or deliver the milk. Be thankful and understand where you are at.”
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