Youth Council launches campaign against knife crime – Southend-on-Sea Borough Council

An anti-stabbing campaign designed by young people for young people has been launched by the Southend-on-Sea Youth Council.

‘Lives Over Knives’, was developed by current Youth Mayor Scott Kebbell in early 2020, and has been the subject of extensive work by Youth Advisors, which took just under two years due to the disruptions caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. The campaign is funded by the Violence and Vulnerability Council and was designed by young people to target young people to deter them from picking up a knife.

This campaign was driven by the 33.4% of young people in the borough who voted for issues surrounding knife crime and gang-related crime in the 2019 UK Youth Parliament Make Your Mark ballot. also revealed that security issues were the most pressing issue facing young people in our local community.

Make Your Mark is an opportunity for young people across the UK to have their say by voting on the issues they want to change. The results of Make Your Mark influence hundreds of projects and campaigns run by young people, for young people. Members of Youth Parliament and other young people in the community will campaign and research winning topics, to influence the UK Parliament and their local representatives, ensuring that young people’s views are heard by decision-makers. This year’s voting is open from 1-28 February 2022 and in Southend voting will be via schools.

Scott Kebbell, Youth Mayor and Project Leader, said, “I think it’s great that people are getting this message from us now more than ever. Knife crime is a top concern for young people in the borough, as the Make Your Mark ballot shows. However, this campaign, unlike other campaigns of a similar nature, is the only one carried out by young people and also designed for this same demographic group.

The campaign culminated in a short advertisement which the youth advisers developed and played. The advert was filmed by Blatella Films ltd, a Southend based media company. An exclusive screening of the event took place in December 2021 attended by various schools and key stakeholders including Essex Police.

Acting Chief Inspector Sian Parry, of Essex Police, said: ‘I think the work the Youth Council is doing to highlight issues around knife crime is fantastic. They themselves designed and implemented this campaign due to the increased concern of young people in the borough.

“Knife crime is an area that really worries young people and by launching this campaign, which was designed by young people for young people, I think it will encourage them not to carry knives. The more knives there are in the street the better, the consequences of carrying knives can be long term and devastating for those involved and their families.I would encourage anyone considering carrying a knife not to do so.

The campaign is now live on social media, with the video and a list of organizations supporting the issue available on the life on knives webpages. The short film created as part of the campaign already has more than 1,600 views and can be viewed on Youtube.

For more information on Southend Youth Council please visit www.southendyouthcouncil.co.uk.