I’ve been involved with the No Knives, Better Lives campaign for over 2 years as a Community Education Worker working for North Ayrshire Council, Community Development, Youth Services along with my colleague Louise Riddex.
It has been one of the best pieces of work I’ve been involved in, in the 25 years of working with local communities.
Highlights for me are the work that we’ve done with the young people who are NKBL peer educators, and working with Police Scotland as partners. It’s been incredible.
We now have 20 young people trained as peer educators (some trained by Fast Forward as part of the NKBL national support programme, and some through other projects).
Being involved in the peer education programme has had a mind blowing impact on the confidence of the young people involved. They have presented in their schools, delivered workshops to their peers at local youth conferences and youth centres, helped train new peer educators and some have even delivered drama workshops to other young people and partners.
The peer educators have also learned new skills, by taking part in the NKBL peer education training programme and using the Sharp Solutions toolkit to deliver peer education sessions. They’ve made many new friends and become successful learners and effective contributors by working together as a team and sharing responsibility.
The pride that the peer educators take from the knowledge that they are making a direct positive difference within their local communities, making them safer for all, is brilliant.
From their initial involvement in NKBL, many of the peer educators have gone on to take part in other voluntary community projects and to become more responsible citizens. Many have received Saltire Awards and local awards from North Ayrshire Council and Police Scotland for all their volunteering work.
Working with Police Scotland
Working with Police Scotland as local delivery partners for NKBL has been a joy, from the initial official launch of the NKBL campaign back in February 2012 through to our most recent piece of work, the Streetwise Project. It has been one of the strongest partnerships I have been involved in, in terms of sharing the workload, good practice and sharing the success we’ve had in local communities.
The Streetwise Project focuses on safety for young people. It includes 5 different short dramas (one of which is about knife crime), delivered by the peer educators,
Other partners that were involved, including the N.H.S. and Fire and Rescue Service commented on how well Community Development service and Police Scotland worked together on this and other projects for young people.
We have twice presented examples of our local work at the NKBL Practitioners Network. Our partnership continues to go from strength to strength and we are already discussing our next project for November.