New project urges young people in South Tyneside to say no to knives

A new project is set to keep thousands of young people in South Tyneside safe by urging them to say no to knives.

The programme, being delivered by South Tyneside charity Bright Futures, is set to educate more than 9,000 young people about the dangers of knife crime to help them live safer lives.

Earlier this year it was reported that knife crime in England rose to record levels in 2017-18, with the number of fatal stabbings the highest since Home Office records began in 1946.

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Meanwhile figures recorded by Northumbria Police in 2018 highlighted 887 offences in the region involving the use of a knife or sharp weapon.

Dominique Hendry and Lianne Reidy from Bright Futures.Dominique Hendry and Lianne Reidy from Bright Futures.
Dominique Hendry and Lianne Reidy from Bright Futures.

The project, funded by the Home Office, will use assemblies, interactive workshops and youth work to develop young people’s understanding of relationships, personal safety and the increased risk of exploitation and knife crime.

“We’re taking a lead on education and prevention,” said Bright Futures’ Dominique Hendry.

“Through the media a lot of young people hear about knife crime and county lines. This is about delivering the education so that they know what they are seeing on TV and social media isn’t a true reflection of what’s happening and making sure they can keep themselves safe.”

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Bright Futures will work alongside Northumbria Police Neighbourhood Teams to deliver assemblies in secondary schools and education providers and will increase its youth work provision across the borough.

Dominique continued: “We will target our work in areas where young people often congregate and are at increased risk of a range of issues including anti-social behaviour and knife related crime, being both a victim and perpetrator of crime.

The project is specifically targeting young males who may be at risk of criminal exploitation.

She added: “We’re educating them about the grooming process and potential unhealthy relationships and how that can lead to sexual and criminal exploitation.

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“We provide a safe space, giving young people the opportunity to talk about issues, encouraging them to feel empowered to tackle the issue and challenge others to create wider change.”

Founded in 2012, Bright Futures supports young people across Tyne and Wear by helping them tackle some of life’s biggest challenges.