Lord Willy Bach with WOW Project staff
More than 2,000 schoolchildren from across Leicestershire have taken part in a new interactive workshop aimed at preventing them from carrying knives.
Lord Willy Bach, Leicestershire’s Police and Crime Commissioner, has praised the work of the Words over Weapons project, which aims to engage 8,000 youngsters across the county by March next year.
The PCC provided funding to project leaders Go-Getta CIC to spread the anti-knife crime message and help young people understand the repercussions of carrying knives through a series of interactive sessions in schools.
Through his Prevention Fund, the PCC agreed to fund the equivalent of 10 hours of project and engagement work at Leicestershire schools every week during term time.
In addition to hosting assemblies and workshops in schools, the WOW team has forged 15 new partnerships with schools and young people’s services and has successfully recruited eight new Young Ambassadors who are being supported to write and deliver a presentation on knife crime at an end of project performance in March.
Willy Bach said: “We are exploring lots of new and powerful ways of reaching young people in Leicestershire and challenging the culture and attitudes that encourage violence and knife crime.
“WOW has already reached 2,200 youngsters since April and project leaders are on course to engage with a further 6,000 by the end of March. There is no doubt that hard-hitting facts and compelling testimonies are necessary to convey the seriousness of knife crime and I am impressed with the impact this project is already having on young people.
“Many of those who have taken part in the assemblies and workshops have been deeply moved by what they have learnt and have changed their opinions. This is what it is all about.”
WOW was previously funded by the Home Office as a pilot project working with young people aged 11-19.
The PCC agreed to provide funding to expand its work between April 2019 to March 2020, supporting its aims to educate young people on the dangers and risks of knife crime, equip young people with the knowledge and skills to make better decisions about their lives and challenge their peers, to give young people a voice on the issue of knife crime and to stop them carrying knives.
One 14-year-old participant said: “The case studies were really sad, especially the one where the boy carried a knife just to protect himself because he was bullied but that's what ended up getting him killed. It made me realise how carrying a knife won’t protect you in the end and it could make people think you're the dangerous one.”
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Posted on Thursday 14th November 2019