Sheffield groups pledge end to youth violence

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Community groups and campaigners have pulled together to host events in Sheffield aimed at ending violence among young people.

The Knife Awareness Project – along with a variety of other groups – organised speakers, workshops and music performances to raise awareness of the issue.

Cheryl Robertson, of the Knife Awareness Project, organised the one-day event across the city.

She said: “It was a fantastic occasion to get the message across to young people that violence is not acceptable.

“Young people often listen to lyrics and take their interpretations of violence from them, so we asked the musicians to include lyrics that were anti-violence.

“The acts were fantastic, they did it for free and wrote songs especially for the day.”

The Peace Act Sheffield event at The U-Mix Centre on Asline Road, Sharrow, also featured demonstrations from sports clubs and stalls giving out the message that violence is not the answer.

Raymond Douglas, national coordinator for education programme Anti Youth Violence, also gave a speech at the centre highlighting his efforts on the issues and the alternatives young people can take.

Cheryl Robertson, of Lodge Moor, Sheffield, said: “Raymond’s talk packed out the whole room. I spoke to some young people afterwards who said that they had been thinking about carrying a knife, because they thought it was cool and it would keep them safe, but that they had changed their minds after the workshop.

“Sometimes you have to use scare tactics and the images that were shown of stabbing aftermaths really hit home with the people present.”

Mr Douglas and criminologist Craig Pinkney, an urban youth specialist and director of Real Action UK, also spoke at Burngreave’s Vestry Hall as part of Saturday’s awareness day.

More than 1,000 people attended the event throughout the day and the organisers hope to make Peace Act Sheffield an annual event promoting community cohesion.

Cheryl said: “This was about building bridges with different groups.

“Whether you’re Muslim, Jewish, Christian or any other group, everyone has a responsibility to stop the violence.

“Anyone one of us could be a victim.”