The Ben Kinsella Trust is one of the leading anti-knife crime charities in the UK. It was set up following the murder of Ben Kinsella in 2008. It exists to campaign against knife crime and to educate young people about its dangers and help them make positive choices to stay safe. Last year, the Trust worked with 2,624 young people from 80 schools in London. In London, the Ben Kinsella Knife Crime Awareness workshops take place in Finsbury Library in Islington. The workshops, each for up to 30 young people aged 10-16, are unique as they give young people an opportunity to learn about the dangers of knife crime and the emotions associated with living the experience in a safe space.
All young people learn differently, so the workshops combine role play, video testimony featuring real life stories, quizzes and surveys to keep young people engaged. During workshops, young people move through 5 different themed rooms, guided by trained facilitators and actors who provide age-appropriate guidance, interaction, and content. Overall, the workshops look at the negative consequences of knife crime and use videos to tell Ben’s story and show the devastating impact his death had on everyone who knew him. The workshops also teach young people about choices and consequences, how to make positive decisions to stay safe, the law and how it is applied to knife crime and the realities of prison life.
Knife crime is getting worse, and this issue is not restricted to London. Knife crime in Nottinghamshire is at its highest level in six years (Nottinghamshire Knife Crime Strategy, 2018). While a high proportion of knife crime offenders in Nottingham are under 25, almost 35% of them are under 18s, and nearly half of those under 16, highlighting the necessity of preventative work with school age children (Nottinghamshire Knife Crime Strategy, 2018). The human impact is clear. In 5 weeks between June and July 2018 there were six serious stabbings in Nottingham, one of them fatal.
This partnership will help enable the expansion of the programme into Nottingham. The exhibition space and workshops will be recreated at the National Justice Museum (NJM), which has gifted the unused Police Station attached to the NJM. In partnership with the NJM, other local charities, Nottinghamshire Police and families affected by knife crime, there will be a space focusing on the specific impact of knife crime in Nottinghamshire. Once the space has been established, we expect that 1000 young people in year 1 will visit from across Nottinghamshire.