Youth and Gangs
A ROC Northants Partner, C2C Social Action, has booked the Knife Angel to come to Northamptonshire! The “National Monument Against Violence and Aggression,” more commonly known as the “Knife Angel,” has been booked to come to Northampton for the month of June 2020.
The Knife Angel stands 27 feet (8 metres) tall and is made of over 100,000 knives, confiscated by 43 Police Forces across the country. Thirty percent of the knives used in the sculpture were bloodied on arrival and came in biohazard bags. As part of a project called “Save a Life, Surrender your Knife,” the National Ironworks Centre (in Shropshire) organised more than 40 amnesties and 200 knife banks at its own cost. Alfie Bradley, the artist, disinfected and blunted the weapons before welding them to form the angel. Families of those lost to knife violence were able to request an engraved message onto one of the sculpture’s many thousands of blades. It took over a year to build the Knife Angel after permission was granted by the Home Office to collect the knives.
C2C Social Action will use the angelic visitation to Northamptonshire to work alongside a range of organisations in an intensive youth activity programme, in partnership with Northamptonshire Police, the Office of Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner, and councils, schools, clubs and churches from around the county. The Knife Angel will be located in the plaza at the front of All Saints Church in Northampton town centre, with the kind support of Father Oliver Coss and of Derrick Simpson, Town Centre Manager. A range of youth activities will take place in the Guildhall with the support of Northampton Borough Council’s Community Safety Team.
Broadmead Community Church are excited to be planning a ROC Café at the new Broadmead Centre on Kettering Road. The ROC Café will be a drop-in for students on their way home from school as a place to hang out together in a safe and positive environment.
A ROC Café has a real benefit of it not being “their church thing”, but drawing on ROC resources and the potential for networking other ROC Cafes/hubs/centres across the town.
Facilitated by NAYC, Youth providers in Northampton have formed a steering group, organised by a local councillor who has identified the need for the town to have a youth hub, a purpose built place, specifically to support the needs of the young people.
Organisations such as NAYC, Free2talk, CYP, Young Health Watch, NCC Youth Forum, IDID Adventure, The Lowdown, local councillors, and the University are in the process of identifying the current youth provisions recognising the future needs of the children and young people in the local area.
To start this process, we invited all youth providers to come together, to celebrate what they do, to network, around gangs and knife crime. This was a fantastic opportunity as 30 youth organisations had a stall, celebrated their good practice and discussed future developments.
With the launch of CIRV (Community Initiative for the Reduction of Violence), the police initiative, over the ROC Conversations, there was a particular focus on the challenges in our county relating to young people and gangs. This ended up being a strong focus from the Northampton North East mini-Conversation. There was input there from young people and teachers in particular that brought together a powerful picture. Here are some headlines:
- Young people tend to get recruited into gangs at the age of 11-12, much younger than most people thought.
- Sense of Belonging, money/poverty and low self-worth are key drivers for gang involvement.
- Teachers have a good feel for those individuals who are susceptible to gang involvement from a very early age.
- Young people experience high levels of pressure from peers that is hard for older people to understand, and many end up carrying knives to feel safe.
The result was that many in the Conversation felt a great deal of concern for our young people, and a greater sense of understanding of the world in which they live.
CIRV has been really successful in its impact, and ROC Northants has been proud to launch it. See more information here: https://www.aimonline.org.uk/CIRV/
The Youth and Gangs sub-group is seeking to be part of a joined up approach to supporting young people. Young People face significant challenges in today’s world, and we believe significant investment and coordination will positively affect their futures. We are working with partners to provide forums and projects that support a positive aspirational future for the youth of Northants.