A 17-year-old has cast doubt on a programme to reduce knife crime and has expressed worries gangs are being “idolised”.

Haringey Council received £1.5 million from the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan to deliver their Community Gold Scheme – a series of programmes to stop young people getting involved in violent crime.

The scheme was launched yesterday at Bloomingscent Café in Tottenham and was kicked-off by looking at one particular initiative – Exodus – which will focus on early intervention for young people considered to be at a high-risk of offending.

Exodus will involve one-on-one mentoring, talks in schools, and training teachers and social workers about how to help young people to avoid getting involved in crime.

But 17-year-old Anthony Stevens from Haringey College said he is not sure if the initiative will work.

Mr Stevens said: “It all depends on the individual and if they want to change.

“The big issue is that young people don’t have the confidence to come forward for things like this because they don’t want to be labelled a ‘snitch’ or looked down upon.”

Discussing how serious violence and gang culture in the borough has become normalised, Mr Stevens, who lives in Muswell Hill and has four sisters and one brother, said it is an “everyday thing”.

He said: “If there is someone on the other side of the road you are wondering who they are and what they are doing.

“It’s normal to double check everything and think about defending yourself.

“These are thoughts you should not really be having, you should be able to walk home without thinking ‘I have to psych myself up’.”

But Mr Stevens said one of the main problems in the community is that people “idolise”, what he calls “road men” – gang members.

He said: “They are idolised because they think no-one can touch them and they have respect because of their violence.”

Mr Stevens also believes programmes focusing on early intervention should target children as young as ten-years-old.

He said: “It starts when you are about ten, when you start to see people carrying a knife.

“You grow up around it. Just being around it means that culture is embedded in you and makes you feel like you have to act a certain way.”

The 17-year-old plays basketball and has just won a scholarship to play the sport in America.

He went to the US to interview for the opportunity last week, but on the day he left Kamali Gabbidon-Lynck was stabbed to death in Wood Green, Haringey.

The 19-year-old was chased into a hair salon by men armed with a firearm, knives and a samurai sword.

Mr Stevens said: “I thought ‘I can’t come back to this place, there’s so much negativity’.

“But I worry about my siblings. I would not put myself in that sort of situation but what if my brother does?”

Speaking about the scheme his basketball coach, Franck Batimba, also raised concerns it might not work.

Mr Batimba said: “I’m not sure it will work. Young people are going to be reluctant to sign-up but if you get then right people to engage them, that they can trust, it could work.”