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Grassroots charity to tackle surge of knife crime

CRISIS: Knife crime

LONDON VILLAGE Network, a grassroots charity dedicated to social equality and community cohesion, will be rolling out a programme from next week to deter young people from knife crime across ten London boroughs. This programme called ‘Don’t Be Me’ will allow young people in these boroughs to have an honest conversation with Paul, who had spent 21 years in maximum security prisons for knife crime.

Don’t Be Me targets the extremely hard to reach; including those who have already spent a short time in prison and are highly likely to carry knifes. London Village Network believes that this programme is effective because Paul’s s experience conveys an exceptionally true and respected message.

During the session, Paul will speak to young people about the harsh reality of a life sentence and illustrate the difficulty of coping with one. “Knife crime has become normalised but our young people need to be shown that there are other ways to resolve conflicts. Young people who use knives also need to understand how their actions can destroy families,” Paul said.

London Village Network hopes that this programme will encourage young people involved in crime and gang activity to explore positive outcomes.

The funding for this programme comes from the Evening Standard Disposed Fund and Comic Relief. There are two phases to this programme with four London boroughs involved in Phase 1 and the remaining six in Phase 2 . The four boroughs taking part in Phase 1 next week are:

Islington: 27 September at City and Islington College from 12 pm to 2 pm

Camden: 27 September at Coram Fields from 3 pm to 5 pm

Kilburn: 28 September at OK Club from 6 pm to 8 pm

Hackney: 29 September at The Crib from 6 pm to 8 pm

Rachael Box, Founder and CEO of London Village Network, said, “We cannot sit back and expect our young people to solve the knife crime epidemic themselves. Huge intervention
is needed. London Village Network believes that it starts with a conversation and Paul is giving his time to make a difference. We are now appealing to all responsible Londoners to offer one hour of their time to engage with these young people with the ‘what next’ to help and put them on the right track.”

In 2016, London Village Network received a Metropolitan Police Service Community Engagement Commendation Award for our work with knife crime. Phase 2 of Don’t Be Me will be announced in due course.

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