Sheffield anti knife crime campaigner urges schools to work with him to save lives
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Sheffield anti-knife campaigner Anthony Olaseinde, founder of Always An Alternative - a not for profit organisation which aims to reduce youth violence, has just released his debut book, One Knife Many Lives.
It is a book that has been created through personal experience as well as victims’ experiences but ultimately attempts to show how real the dangers of knife crime are.
Anthony said: “There is no education in the syllabus that covers knife crime.
“It’s not just a case of the victim and the attacker being affected, it’s the friends and relatives. On the other side, there is also conflict. The attacker may face life imprisonment so they are also a victim in a way.”
With some reviewers saying the book should be given core reading status, it raises awareness of key issues including mental health, domestic abuse, and suicide - things that often go hand in hand with knife crime.
33-year-old Anthony believes that young people may feel a false sense of power when they carry a knife.
He added: “Picking up a knife to protect yourself is a one second decision. The snowball effect is on a young person’s life, their family, the community.”
Despite giving talks and delivering knife crime workshops to young people for the last few years, he told how he has seen very little change in Sheffield.
Anthony said: “People are becoming more aware but I have not seen enough.”
He told how knife crime is only written about when someone dies and there are no posters about - it is an issue that has become ‘quite shocking and the severity quite serious’ he feels.
Anthony explained: “The fireworks incident this year just reflects the level of respect and education that young people have.
“Workshops are necessary - young people don't know enough.”
He believes that we need to connect to young people as they may feel a bit lost, and his book is one way of doing that.
Anthony told how a person’s state of mind can quickly change to something of paranoia and it is this that initiates the idea ‘to kill or be killed’.
He is pushing to get One Knife Many Lives into schools because he believes it is the easiest way to reach as many young people as possible and could ‘potentially save a life’.
Anthony, who is dyslexic, also wants to get young people into reading and show them that they should look beyond stereotypes.
He said: “As a teenager, there were no books that appealed to me.”
Anthony is hoping that his book will appeal to teenagers as he has put a lot of thought into making it more user friendly for everyone, including those with learning difficulties - considerations have been made in regards to the font, font size, having pictures at the beginning of each chapter, and glossy pages to give a more magazine rather than book feel.
One Knife Many Lives can be ordered at www.alwaysanalternative.org.uk and all money goes back into helping young people through Always An Alternative.