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Posted On: 12th Dec 2018

Real Knives Real Lives

Joe Holdsworth
Peer pressure can make someone carry a knife
The group from Youth of Walsall wants to end knife crime

'When we started thinking about our campaign we thought about some of the consequences of picking up a knife – this happens, that happens, you get charged, you go to jail, that kind of thing. And then, when we had a talk with Alison Cope, she put a different spin on it.'


Joe Holdsworth and his friends got inspiration from Alison, who’s become a passionate anti-knife campaigner since her son was stabbed to death at a party, aged 18.


'She didn’t talk about knives or the crime,' says Joe. 'She just spoke about her son Joshua and it was really good to put a face to the statistics.


'None of us have been through a knife crime but hearing her story still had a huge impact on us.'


Last year 20-year old-Joe and other members of Youth of Walsall helped organise a vote to find out what young people thought were the key challenges facing their town.


The top issue was knife crime – unsurprising perhaps given the West Midlands recently recorded the biggest increase in knife crime outside London.


As part of their research the group held workshops.


Says Joe: 'One of the things we heard was oh - I took a knife to school because I wanted to feel safer. But the fact is if you take a knife to school, you’re more at risk of being stabbed.'



With Fixers, Joe and his group have made a video called Real Knives, Real Lives which was launched at a Youth Police Summit in Birmingham last night.


It concentrates on the peer pressures which makes a young man carry a knife - and the terrible grief his father feels after he is killed.


'When people carry knives they don’t think about the aftermath,' Joe explained. 'The main message is to highlight how such a simple, easy, huge mistake can have such massive repercussions.


'We’re hoping our film, not showing blood or gore, just showing people, will persuade young people to think twice about carrying knives.'


This project was funded by NHS England.


To find other resources on this topic, and watch Fixers films, click on the image below.


Author: Paul Larsmon


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