THE young founder of an anti-knife crime charity had two reasons to celebrate this week.
Eliza Rebeiro, 20, started Lives Not Knives (LNK) aged 14, to give young people a support network after two of her friends were stabbed – one to death.
After making LNK into a registered charity, Eliza won the Young Star award at the Women of the Future ceremony in London on Wednesday last week.
The night of recognition at the Marriott hotel in Grosvenor Square was a well-earned break from a manic week, in which she had also been setting up a new base for LNK in Centrale.
Eliza said: "It was a fantastic night and it was amazing to meet lots of women in business who are really on top of their game.
"It was also nice to be recognised for my work as well."
She was given the keys to a spacious unit on the upper level of Centrale just six days before the launch of the charity's new base.
Eliza, who is helped by her mum Monique Rebeiro, added: "It was a bit of a mad week as we pulled everything together for the launch and did all the painting and fitting.
"But the place looks amazing and it's huge, so it should be a good space for Croydon's young people.
"There aren't really enough places where young people can go for help and advice."
Half of the unit will be used to accommodate referrals from the Job Centre and co-ordinate programmes designed to get more young people into work.
The other side will offer help to budding entrepreneurs and start-up businesses, including everything from CV guidance to interview training.
Eliza said: "Everyone who comes to us has an inspiring story and they all know what they want but they don't know how to get there. That's where we come in.
"It's about making sure young people are given opportunities to show what they can do.
"We want to make a lot of corporate partnerships with businesses that can offer young people work programmes and get them valuable experience.
"We've had lots of support, which is vital because that is what a lot of young people need so desperately."