Ben Kinsella was just 16 years old when he was stabbed to death on 29th June, 2008 in Islington, London.
In June 2008, Ben had finished his GCSE exams and went out to a local bar to celebrate with friends. During the evening, there was an altercation in the bar between friends of Ben and 3 other teenagers, Ben was not involved in the incident in anyway. On his way home, Ben and his friends realised that they were being followed. They split up, and whilst his friends decided to run, Ben calmly carried on his way home. Ben was the first person the 3 teenagers found and in an unprovoked attack, Ben was stabbed to death.
After Ben’s death, his family set up the Ben Kinsella Trust to speak out about knife crime and campaign for change.
In 2012, the Trust set up an exhibition in Islington to help young people appreciate and understand the lasting damage that knife crime can have on them and those around them. The exhibition is an immersive experience, putting young visitors into the position of picking an action and seeing the consequences live out.
Since the exhibition opened, over 11,000 young people have visited the exhibition, most of them pledging to never carry a knife.
The Trust and Ben’s family have also had an important national advisory and advocacy role. Pat Green, the CEO of the Trust, was appointed to the Serious Violence Taskforce supporting the delivery of the UK government’s Serious Violence Strategy.
Over the last few months, the Ben Kinsella Trust have advised BBC’s EastEnders on a storyline about knife crime. The story, involving characters Shakil and Keegan, shines a light on the consequences of knife crime on friends, families, and the wider community. The soap will also broadcast a special episode in July featuring the families of real-life victims talking about their experiences.
The honest, realistic and difficult soap storyline has had a powerful impact on viewers, starting a conversation in many households about knife carrying. It also shows the importance of speaking up and being an active bystander.
Pat Green from the Ben Kinsella Trust said, “the pain and trauma of losing a loved one to knife crime never goes away. That’s why it was so important for us that the Eastenders storyline captured the lasting impact that this hideous crime has on everyone that it touches.”
This year, the Trust has also started a new campaign, 10 for Ben, encouraging children and young people to do 10 sponsored acts of kindness. The campaign was inspired by Ben’s love for helping others in his community and aims to celebrate the contribution young people make to our society.
“It is 10 years since we lost Ben. To celebrate Ben’s life and legacy and to recognise the positive contributions that young people make to society, we have created 10 for Ben. This is an opportunity for young people do 10 deeds or acts of kindness to help others or their community.”
This week, the tenth anniversary of Ben’s death, we’ve partnered with the Ben Kinsella Trust to tell Ben’s story and stop knife crime. Throughout the week we will be sharing messages from Ben’s family and friends, as well as advice on what to do if you know someone is carrying a knife.
Find out more about supporting the Ben Kinsella Trust here.