The education system has been accused of failing youngsters by X Factor winner Leona Lewis.
The singer says kids are left vulnerable to the lure of gangs and other bad influences because lack of funding for education or community groups leaves then with nothing to do.
Leona told the Sun: "Everything boils down to money – there is not enough money for education or community groups."
She said youngsters were left 'by the wayside' and admitted that her own family had been torn apart because some of her cousins had been in gangs.
"It's hard to come out of once you are in it," she said, "I have seen it from the outside, I haven't been in it."
Leona was speaking at the launch of a project in east London which offers masterclasses in fashion, radio, acting and music to young people in Hackney.
Along with rapper Plan B, Leona said the scheme in her home borough would give young people an 'opportunity, to show them that people care and they are not going to be left behind.'
The Academy project and is being run by BBC Radio 1 and 1Xtra from June 1 to 22.
Plan B said that he felt 'ignored' when growing up in east London, as though he did not 'have a voice'. He said: "These kids are getting no love. Money is an issue, but it's also about spending time with them. The education they are getting is s**t.
"Life is not just about academics. They are not taught enough about real life - about things like sex and drugs.
"We need to encourage them that there is another way by getting them to express themselves and discover their true talents."
Leona and Plan B are also appearing a BBC3 series called Back To Hackney which will follow them working with teenagers.
Do you agree? Is there simply not enough money put into schemes to keep kids occupied?
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