Youthact! Project in
Waltham Forest

Changes - Our Name is our Aim

A group of year 9 students at Willowfield School in Waltham Forest are working to educate people in their community about the dangers of knife crime.

Project started: Jun 2006

With the support of two teachers, Lucie Jones and Charlie Riseley, a group of year 9 students from Willowfield school in Waltham Forest have decided to tackle the problem of knife crime in their local area.

A lot of the students had experienced knife crime either directly or knew people who had been attacked. The group felt it was time to make a change!

After researching the issue, the group decided they had to speak to students in local schools and make them aware of the impact of knife crime.

They are currently working on a workshop to take to primary schools and have written a play for year 7 students aimed at highlighting the impact of knife crime and deterring other young people from getting involved in knife crime.

The group would like to see local shops and supermarkets change the way they sell knives by making it more difficult to buy them. They think local shop keepers should keep knives behind the counter. They believe that supermarkets should put extra security tags on knives, similar to the ones they have on alcohol in order to ensure knives are not sold to under 18s.

They will also be conducting an awareness campaign for local shop keepers to make sure they understand it is illegal to sell knives to under 18s. To do this the group are going to run a poster campaign which will show photos of young people asking people to guess their ages and highlighting the fact that it is often very difficuly to tell the age of a person and to stress the importance of identifying the age of the young person before selling them a knife.

The group are currently developing the play and poster campaign and hope to tour local schools starting in February 2007.

They are in the process of conducting a survey of young people in their community to find out their interests so that they can lobby the council to provide facilities for young people. They hope that by providing young people with alternative activities, they will be less likely to get involved in knife crime and other anti-social behaviour which could lead to knife crime.

Youth Act training and campaigns are running throughout London. A national Youth Act Train the Trainers programme is also available. Please contact the Youth Act team for more information 020 7566 5033 or email Ade Sofola (

This project is based on the internationally successful Youth Act! programme of street law begun by Street Law Inc in the United States (, which has campaigned to increase provision for homeless people, challenge discrimination and reduce gun crime.

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