The iconic 27-feet-tall statue is currently visiting Northampton as part of its nationwide tour to highlight the issue of knife crime in the UK.
The statue, which was designed by Alfie Bradley at the British Ironwork Centre (BIC) in Oswestry, has been created from over 100,000 knives and blades confiscated by the UK’s 43 police forces. It was specifically created to highlight the negative effects of violent behaviour whilst solidifying our critical need for social change. Not only does the Angel act as a catalyst for turning the tide on violent and aggressive behaviour, but it also acts as a beautiful memorial designed to celebrate those lives who have been lost through these violent and thoughtless actions. britishironworkcentre.co.uk/show-areas/the-knife-angel-official
The Knife Angel has been brought to the town by West Northants Council (WNC), C2C Social Action and the Office of Northamptonshire Police, Fire & Crime Commissioner (OFPCC). The Northampton Town Community Trust is a partner working with these organisations to help raise awareness about this issue. All kinds of awareness raising events have been running to coincide with the Angel’s visit, including an anti-violence march in the town centre, a service and vigil at All Saints’ Church, a knife amnesty and The Northamptonshire Emergency Cadets giving emergency first aid training and safety demonstrations.
NTFC Community Trust runs ‘Premier League Kicks’, football sessions and crime awareness educational workshops to engage young people at risk of knife crime, gang culture and anti-social behaviour. Having the Knife Angel visiting in May has enabled the trust to reach more young people. ntfccommunity.co.uk/crime-ambassadors
The trust’s Inclusion officer and teacher Anna Letts has taught seven workshops reaching 190 pupils so far: with year 6 as well as secondary ages and pupils with special educational needs. Northampton schools that visited the Guildhall in Northampton were Cambian School, Purple Oaks Academy, On Track Education. Anna visited West Northants Council offices in Daventry to work with pupils from The Parker Academy and hosted a Premier League Kicks’ football group from Blackthorn, Northampton one evening. Schools visited the status as part of their visits. She also taught the workshops with year 6s at Victoria Academy, Wellingborough and is soon to visit Park Junior School in Wellingborough.
Aims of the workshops:
• To know what knife crime is.
• To know the risks and consequences of carrying and using a knife/weapon.
• To know how violence and knife crime impacts on communities.
• To make a pledge to show support for this anti-violence campaign.
• To know how to report knife crime and keep safe. (Including reporting anonymously at Fearless.org)
During the workshop the students took part in youth voice activities which included group discussions around why young people carry weapons and the consequences of knife crime on different parts of the community. They shared their emotions and reactions about the Knife Angel and knife crime in general. Aspects such as ‘joint enterprise’, reasons why young people carry weapons, laws and consequences around knife crime, peer pressure and gangs were discussed. Everyone was asked to make a pledge to become an anti-violence champion. The county aims to sign up 1000s of people as anti-violence champions to join in support of a national call against the tolerance of violent and aggressive behaviour. Some examples of secondary school students’ pledges:
• “I am against knife crime because it destroys people’s families and puts young children in danger”.
• “I’m against violence because it hurts, it breaks families, it’s traumatising, and it changes lives forever. There is no coming back from it”.
• “I am against knife crime because it’s wrong, stupid and needs to stop. It breaks hearts, families, and friends”.
• “I want to stop knife crime because it is not fair that different people and children die for other people’s stupid actions”.
Inclusion officer Anna Letts said “The young people have engaged with this topic during the workshops in different ways; some are harder to reach than others. It is important that we as educators and organisations listen to youth voice to find out what is really going on in our communities, how young people get caught up in these kinds of situations and know how to help. Hopefully I have been able to challenge some common assumptions about knife crime and got the young people thinking about the decisions they may have to or are making. There is a lot to unpick with this issue and it can be hard to break down barriers to get the messages around knife crime and violence across. Using the Knife Angel’s visit is a great way to do this as it captures people’s interest and opens conversations.”
The Knife Angel travels to Wellingborough for a day of events on Saturday 14th May (Wellingborough Old Grammarians Memorial Sports Field) then on to Corby for two weeks.