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10th May 2024

In a powerful display of young leadership, the Ben Kinsella Trust hosted a successful knife crime awareness event entirely designed and delivered by our inspiring Youth Ambassadors from Barking & Dagenham.

The impactful event, titled "You Should Have Been Here," took place on Wednesday 8th May at the M&B Sports and Social Club in Dagenham. The event drew an audience of important decision-makers within the borough, including councillors such as the Leader of Barking & Dagenham Council - Cllr Darren Rodwell, headteachers, teachers, funders, and community leaders. The event was also featured LIVE on BBC London News!

This event served as a powerful testament to the dedication of our Youth Ambassadors to stopping knife crime. Knife crime continues to soar across both London and the country, with statistics revealing alarming trends..

According to data from the Office for National Statistics, incidents of police recorded offences involving a knife or sharp instrument have reached 49,489 offences in England and Wales, meaning there has been a 7% increase in the last 12 months (year ending December 2023.) These figures underscore the urgent need for proactive measures to address this crisis, particularly in London where knife crime has risen 20% in the last year.

Through our Youth Ambassadors programme, young people are empowered to become champions for knife crime prevention. The programme equipped them with vital skills in media training, public speaking, and leadership, culminating in the creation of this impactful event.
The Youth Ambassador-led event offered a dynamic experience for attendees. Interactive speeches, quizzes, and a powerful pledge ceremony sparked conversation, raised awareness, and inspired action..

Through powerful speeches delivered by Charlotte, Fabio and Jade, the Youth Ambassadors highlighted the impact of knife crime on young people in the Barking & Dagenham area, and the true devastation and distress it causes.

In 2023, 18 young people lost their lives due to knife crime in London alone, and the Youth Ambassadors took the opportunity to highlight this devastating loss through a powerful symbol. In the centre of the room laid a set candle lit table with 18 empty places. This represented the 18 young people who ‘Should have been here’, displaying a physical reminder of how many teenage lives have been taken by knife crime. Ambassadors named each of the 18 murdered teenagers honouring their lives and urged the guests attending to take action so that this number is not repeated in 2024.

Patrick Green, CEO of The Ben Kinsella Trust, said: "I am so impressed by our Youth Ambassadors' initiative in creating this event, which shows the incredible power of young people to facilitate change in their communities. Their passion is inspiring, and their message about building a safer future is truly impactful. The event is wonderful testament to their dedication to stopping knife crime.”

Michel Andre Pongo, Deputy Chair of the Health Scrutiny Committee at Barking & Dagenham Council said “The 14 youth ambassadors have done an amazing job, it’s really important for people to take the pledge to educate themselves on knife crime and the impact it has on the community.”

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