St Helens College has launched a knife crime initiative to educate primary school children through to college students, on the dangers of carrying a knife and the impact it has on families and local communities.
Its in response to the recent statistics released by the Home Office, highlighting the rise in knife crime across Merseyside,
The statistics, released in May, revealed that knife crime has risen by 93% across Merseyside, including 612 knife or blade-related offences in 2013, which has since increased to 1,181 in the last five years.
Working in partnership with the Daniel Fox Foundation, the Adam Ellison Foundation, Real Men Don’t Carry Knives, Saints Development Foundation, Love Jasmine and Merseyside Police, the College recently hosted a successful launch event at both the St Helens and Knowsley Campuses.
The event commenced with a moving performance of Black Eyed Peas’, ‘Where is the love?’, performed by the College’s very own talented music students, which was followed by heartfelt speeches from the family members of Adam Ellison and Daniel Fox, who both tragically lost their lives to knife crime.
The students also had the opportunity to speak with local organisations and charities, and experienced walking through a knife arch, provided by Merseyside Police.
Alan Walsh, who leads the ‘Real Men Don’t Carry Knives’ campaign across Merseyside, has seen first-hand the devastating consequences of knife crime, and has also been a victim of knife crime himself. He works tirelessly across the region to spread the reality of knife crime and the impact it has on people’s lives.
Alan said, “We want young people to understand that they have a choice. They can make the decision not to carry a knife. They need to know that they do not need to carry a knife to feel safe. Carrying a knife has become part of a culture; young people think it is a fashion to carry a knife. We are working hard to spread the message and break down the stigma.”
Jeanine Williams, Safeguarding and Wellbeing Manager at Knowsley and St Helens College, said, “We feel the education of young people is essential to put a stop to them carrying and using knives. We are not only educating our students but also working across the Knowsley and St Helens boroughs. We feel like we have a responsibility to educate these young people so that it does not become normal to carry a knife.”
Jeanine added, “A collaborative approach is always better than an individual one. Young people in our communities and across Liverpool are still becoming victims. We have to work together to address the problem.”
The College’s Safeguarding and Wellbeing Team and partner organisations have been meeting with students this week, to deliver hard-hitting presentations, from the perspective of someone who has become a victim of knife crime. The team will be visiting both primary and secondary schools across St Helens and Knowsley in the coming weeks, to continue spreading the important message.