My name is Damian Taylor and I’m a Community Worker for North Ayrshire Council.

I’ve been working with the national No Knives Better Lives Team for 10 years.

We started off with a launch event at Eglinton County Park in Kilwinning. This included two young people, one a victim of knife crime and the other his friend who supported him, stand up in front of over a hundred people and give their emotional account of the affects the experience had on them. You could have heard a pin drop in the building when they were speaking.

From this point until about a month ago, multi agency staff have attended training, attended the network events, utilised the resources available, participated with young people the We-CTV competitions, delivered best practice presentations.

For me more importantly and having a bigger impact numerous young people have watched the drama roadshows, attended Peer Education network events, attended Peer Education training and finally what I advocate the most about, is participating in Peer Educations events. Young people are more likely to change their behaviour patterns with dialogue with each other, as well as we’ve had young perpetrators talking to young people about the damaging affect on their lives and their families as well as their victims.

The increased confidence and responsibility and knowing they are making an impact in their local areas can only bode well for their individual future and the communities they live in.

Over the 10 years evaluations from staff, parents/guardians but more significantly is young people evaluations stating clearly they want to make a positive difference in their communities by volunteering to be Peer Educators and then given the opportunity to deliver their knowledge and experiences with each other, to change lives, which the Youth Work methods we use with NKBL toolkits work.

Damian Taylor

Community Development Worker ( Kilwinning )

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