Telford Knife Angel
#TelfordKnifeAngel – March 2020
The University of Wolverhampton through University Centre Telford was delighted to be in partnership with Telford & Wrekin Council for the #TelfordKnifeAngel. The Centre worked with our partners at the Council to help to raise awareness of the impact of knife crime in the UK. We hosted educational activities that focused on knife crime and its impacts on the lives of victims, families, friends and the wider community. A programme of linking key academic staff with relevant community organisations to produce events was coordinated by the Centre.
Sadly but necessarily, the current Coronavirus pandemic has led to the cancellation of a number of key events.
The Centre was privileged to host three talks by Alison Cope, the prominent anti-knife campaigner who lost her own son, Joshua Ribera to a fatal stabbing in September 2013. She spoke to four groups of students from Telford College in two talks on 3rd March. We also hosted an anti-knife crime public lecture by Alison. Her messages about the role of social media in youth violence & the importance of educating young people about choices & consequences are crucial in reducing knife crime. Alison is a truly inspirational woman and speaker. She uses her own personal story to underline her messages.
On Saturday 14th March, the Centre hosted the Steer Clear Workshops delivered by the Police Youth Engagement Team in Telford, paramedic staff, staff from the University of Wolverhampton and the amazing Chris Flood and his father. Members of the Telford Youth Forum and the West Mercia Police Cadets also supported and local young people attended.
The Centre hosted 100s of pupils from local primary and secondary schools for a play performed by Loudmouth UK. A key aim of the play was to dispel the myth that it’s normal for teenagers to carry weapons. In fact 99% of teenagers don’t carry knives. Children and young people were given the skills to recognise criminal exploitation and educated about the consequences about becoming involved with people that they don't know.
On behalf of the University of Wolverhampton, the Centre was delighted to host & sponsor the VIP Launch for the #TelfordKnifeAngel on Saturday 29th February & to attend the Opening Ceremony.
We were delighted to receive a National Anti-Violence Award in recognition of the work that we have done to support the key messages around the Knife Angel. Attendees included the Knife Angel's hugely talented sculptor, Alfie Bradley, the owner Clive Knowles, the Mayor, Councillor Stephen Reynolds, Chief Executive of Telford and Wrekin Council, David Siddaway and other key members of the Council’s Senior Leadership Team and members of the Cabinet. Also in attendance were members of academic staff from our University including Dr Nicole Adams-Quackenbush, Lecturer in Criminological Psychology and Dr Kate Williams, Lecturer in Criminology who have both contributed to the project. Another key contributor, Dr Elaine Arnull, Director of Social Care and Social Work was unable to attend, as she was self-isolating.
It was an honour to meet Alfie Bradley, Alfie's Art, the sculptor of the iconic Knife Angel at the Opening Ceremony in Southwater Square. Like so many others across the UK, he has been personally touched by the horror of knife crime. His beautiful sculpture enables us all to reflect on this issue & to remember all those who have lost their lives so needlessly.