These are unprecedented times and as we move forward together, we need to ensure that young people are at the heart of how our service pivots towards their needs. In light of this we have moved many of our programmes and services online and will engage in a national conversation with practitioners, parents and young people about the needs of our NKBL community and how best we can continue to address them. Key to this as we ease out of lockdown is targeting young people who are most at risk of violence in communities that will have suffered unfairly more due to poverty and inequality.

Although we do not know what the rest of the year will look like, we’ve decided to adapt our programme to continue to support young people and our local partners whilst keeping our overall aims the same: communicating prevention messages to young people and building capacity to support local prevention work.

Here is a quick summary of what we are offering in 2020.

Communicating prevention messages to young people across Scotland

• Peer education support and training for young people wanting to talk to other young people about the risks and consequences of carrying a knife and explore what it means to be an active bystander. A key plank of the peer education programme will be advising young people how to intervene safely when someone you know maybe thinking about or has resorted to carrying a knife. As we ease out of lockdown we need to ensure that our young people are safe and acting responsibly, especially in outdoor spaces. We will build in flexibility to our delivery model offering this provision online as well as socially distanced sessions.

• TikTok campaign – starting this week we will be taking over the YouthLink Scotland TikTok channel (@youthlinkscotland) with a fun #NoKnivesChallenge. The challenge will encourage young people to share their own message about preventing knife carrying and how to be an active bystander.

• We will be working with schools to introduce an interactive game played via mobile phones. Young people will play together as a class, getting a chance to walk in the shoes of a young person facing difficult choices and learn more about the reality of knife carrying.

• We are developing a virtual reality session for small groups of young people most at risk of carrying knives. Through the life-like game, young people will have the opportunity to examine their choices and explore positive options around knife carrying.

• We will continue to engage with young people via our social media channels to communicate the risks and consequences of knife carrying, positive decision-making and the importance of reporting knife carrying.

Capacity-building to support the delivery of local prevention

• We have redesigned our training and network events and moved them online so they can be easily and safely accessed. There will be several facilitated sessions throughout the year, the first of which will take place on 27th August 2020. The first online session will build and support a community of practice for prevention practitioners, placing an emphasis on connecting practitioners and supporting best practice through collaborative problem solving and ideas sharing.

• As always we will consult with practitioners across Scotland to review our suite of resources. Get in touch with us if you think there’s an area of prevention we should focus on.

Right now knife crime may not be the biggest concern for you as a youth worker or for the young people you work with, but we recognise the need to sustain consistent prevention work, one incident is still one too many. We aim to continue to provide support, training and resources where it is helpful and meets local need.

If you would like to be involved or find out more information, you can email us at the national delivery team.

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