Aileen blog 3

NKBL success in Inverclyde

1st May 2014
by Aileen McEwan, Community Learning & Development

In Inverclyde, knife crime was becoming a recognised issue within communities and when talking to young people it was apparent that they too felt it was something that needed to be addressed.  As a youth team we always try to respond to these types of issues when a need is identified and we do this in a variety of ways.  The Youth Work Services manager decided to sign Inverclyde up as one of the pilot areas for the Scottish Governments new campaign - No Knives Better Lives.  

To begin, with an already established youth group called Speak Up Inverclyde worked on the campaign looking at how to promote the NKBL and get other young people involved.  Initially, a Facebook page was designed and locations chosen for NKBL posters and chalk stencils to make sure young people were seeing the message out in their local community and within their schools.  A beach party was organised to promote the NKBL message of choosing to have a life, make positive choices and have fun.  This was a huge success and everyone who attended was given a NKBL t-shirt and wrist band to help with the promotion of the campaigns message.  We also created pledge boards that we took to different events and to our local shopping centre to raise awareness and get people to sign their pledge that they were on board with the campaign, we collected 1734 signatures. 

Game overI then developed sessions using the NKBL toolkits and delivered sessions to PSE classes in a couple of schools across Inverclyde.  247 pupils have received the input.  23% of those pupils state that they or someone close to them has been a victim of knife crime.  54% said they wanted to do something to help change the knife culture in Inverclyde and 100% said they had heard about the campaign.  I also ran the We-CTV (NKBL film-making competition) poster competition across the primary and secondary schools where 135 posters were entered. This helped to promote the message further.   

In 2012 we started an NKBL peer education training programme (in partnership with Renfrewshire Youth Voice), with the idea that we would start to run NKBL workshops with young people across Inverclyde.  We completed the training but for various reasons didn’t get to the next phase of supporting the peer educators to deliver sessions.  So in 2013 we started again and this time it has been a great success.  Some people from the year before took part in the training again and some were new recruits! 87 young people have taken part in their sessions and 100% of participants have said they prefer the message to come from other young people because it makes it more meaningful.  The Peer educators were invited to the National NKBL event in November 2013 and decided to hold their own workshop to show other young people the work they have been doing.  45 young people took part in the workshop at the event and our group received an award along with other peer educators for the work they have been delivering in their local areas.  Justice Minister Kenny McAskill came to observe the group delivering their Peer Ed session in March 2014 and even took part! The police reported during the media for this event that there had been a recorded 60% reduction in knife crime in Inverclyde!

This year the local Young Persons Alcohol Team organised an event aimed at working with all S2 pupils across Inverclyde on a range of issues and wanted the NKBL workshop to be part of the event so I designed a workshop and delivered it to 682 pupils.  92% of young people said they had heard about the No Knives Better Lives Campaign here in Inverclyde, only 39% of young people said they would report someone to the police if they knew they were carrying a knife but 95% of young people said they would report someone for carrying a knife and other crimes if there was an easier/more trustworthy way of reporting a crime anonymously (the fear of being named and or having to talk on the phone is what stops them from reporting). So we are now working on what to do with this information on a local level….so watch this space!

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87 young people have taken part in their sessions and 100% of participants have said they prefer the message to come from other young people because it makes it more meaningful.