Youth Fed celebrated the delivery of their Trade the Blade programme for a second time earlier this year, this time teaming up with public health agency Healthy Stadia and Activity for All, a sports club in Bootle, to introduce a sport element into the programme. The programme was funded through Home Office monies distributed by the Merseyside Violence Reduction Partnership to lower violent crime across Merseyside.
The programme was delivered across Wirral and Bootle, working with young people aged 11-18. It was delivered through the engagement of the young people who attend or are completing a sports qualification with Activity for All. In addition, the delivery of the programme was planned with Hillside High School who had identified a number of pupils who would benefit from these sessions.
Activity for All worked with a cohort of 43 young people over the course of 6 weeks delivering sports sessions to build trust and slowly introduce the topic of knife crime awareness.
Sports activities were varied including a mixture of traditional sports and alternative activities to ensure there was something for everyone. These activities included: team building games; boxercise class; badminton; tennis; hockey and a mini Olympics.
The sports sessions gave the young people opportunity to try different sports, as well as helping to build skills, knowledge and experience around teamwork, communication, planning and organising, following the rules of the game and building self-confidence in themselves.
The sports activities above were then complimented by violence-reduction awareness sessions. These comprised of Trade the Blade awareness and action workshops delivered by Training Co-ordinator at Youth Fed, Emergency First Aid accredited training delivered by qualified First Aid instructor with certification given to participants and finally a County Lines awareness and involvement session delivered by Youth Fed. Youth Fed worked with 75 young people in total.
During these sessions, the young people were informed of the legal consequences of carrying a knife, as well as the impact on both friends and family. They were also educated on how you can become implicated in a crime through joint enterprise, even if not directly involved.
The sessions also gave the young people the skills to be able to spot fake news on social media, question the things they are seeing and hearing and also question whether or not the information comes from a reliable source.
The programme was a great success, with a 100% of the 118 participants reporting a greater understanding of the risks of carrying knives as a result.
Due to COVID-19, we sadly were unable to deliver some elements of our planned programme, but these final pieces of work will be delivered later in the year once government restrictions have been lifted.