The Foundation’s Knife Awareness Programme adopts an early intervention and prevention approach and works with school children across all Primary and Secondary Schools, Colleges and organisations in St Helens. The programme is made up of; presentations, videos and workshops.
The above offers a tiered approach in that course content will be tailored to suit specific age ranges for example, a light touch with primary, and a more advanced hard-hitting session with secondary and college students.
We use principles of Appreciative Inquiry throughout our engagement activities to support children and young people to focus on the changes they want to see happen in their community. This ensures that we are engaging children and young people in identifying the more positive contributions that they can make to their communities and society. We need, through this programme to encourage children and young people to see a more positive future for themselves, their families and their communities. The Knife Awareness Programme will embrace this ethos in everything it delivers to ensure that we are reducing the impact of knife crime and also supporting the strengthening of community bonds, community safety and cohesion.
WORKING WITH FAMILIES
With the Foundation’s excellent working relationship with St Helens Council, the programme is linked into the Council’s Early Help and Whole Family working agenda. This will also ensure that children and young people who are on the edge of offending and / or becoming involved in anti-social behaviour are offered the chance to attend the programme at the earliest opportunity. Parents will also be invited to these sessions.
MEASURING THE IMPACT OF THE PROGRAMME
We recognise the challenge in measuring and demonstrating the direct impact of the programme as there are a range of factors which contributes to levels of knife crime. However, we would anticipate seeing an increase in the number of children and young people who are aware of the consequences of knife crime and who are deterred from carrying a knife as a result. We will also use a series of simple evaluation forms to capture the thoughts and feelings of the children, young people, teachers and parents who attend the sessions. In particular, we will seek to ask the children and young people what they will do differently as a result of taking part in the sessions.
Through the appreciate inquiry approach we expect to see an increase in civic pride, community safety and cohesion. An overall evaluation of the programme will be completed at the end of each 12-month period. This information will be shared and used as best practice with our partnership and front-line agencies.