An anti-knife campaign designed by young people for young people has been launched by Southend-on-Sea Youth Council.
‘Lives Over Knives’, was developed by current Youth Mayor Scott Kebbell back in early 2020, and has been worked on extensively by youth councillors, taking just under two years to complete due to disruption caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. The campaign, is funded by the Violence and Vulnerability Board and has been designed by young people to target young people to discourage them from picking up a knife.
This campaign was motivated by the 33.4% of young people in the borough who voted for issues surrounding knife crime and related gang crime in the 2019 UK Youth Parliament's Make Your Mark ballot. The ballot also found safety issues to be the most pressing issue that young people are facing in our local community.
Make Your Mark is an opportunity for young people across the UK to have their say by voting on the issues they want to change. The results of Make Your Mark influences hundreds of projects and campaigns that are led by young people, for young people. Members of Youth Parliament and other young people in the community will campaign and research the winning topics, to influence the UK Parliament and their local representatives, ensuring that the views of young people are listened to by decision makers. The voting this year is open from 1 – 28 February 2022 and in Southend the voting will be done via schools.
Scott Kebbell, Youth Mayor and project lead, said: “I think it’s great that people are getting this message from us now more than ever. Knife crime is one of the main concerns from young people in the borough, shown in the Make Your Mark ballot. However, this campaign, unlike other campaigns of a similar nature, is the only one made by young people and also designed for that same demographic.”
The campaign resulted in a short advert that the youth councillors developed and starred in. The advert was filmed by Blatella Films ltd, a Southend-based media company. An exclusive screening of the event was held in December 2021 with various schools and key stakeholders in attendance, including Essex Police.
Acting Chief Insp Sian Parry, from Essex Police, said: “I think that the work that the Youth Council are doing in relation to highlighting the issues around knife crime is fantastic. They have designed and instigated this campaign themselves due to the heightened concern that the young people within the borough have.
“Knife crime is an area which young people are really worried about and by launching this campaign, which has been designed by young people for young people, I believe it will encourage them not to carry knives. The more knives off the street the better, the consequences of carrying knives can be long term and devastating for those involved and their families. I would encourage anyone thinking of carrying a knife not to.”
The campaign is now live on social media, with the video and a list of organisations that provide support for the issue available on the Lives Over Knives web pages. The short film that was created as part of the campaign already has over 1,600 views and can be viewed on YouTube.
For more information about Southend Youth Council please visit www.southendyouthcouncil.co.uk.