“I used to carry knives with me all the time, because of things that have happened to me. I’m not carrying them anymore but today has boosted that awareness of why I shouldn’t.”
That was 16 year old Kez’s reaction after seeing the Knife Angel statue in Hull last week.
The Knife Angel is a 27ft sculpture created to raise awareness of the dangers of carrying knives, made out of 100,000 knives handed in during a knife amnesty. Kes was one of a group of 10 young people that we are supporting in East Yorkshire, who came together in Hull last Friday especially to see the statue.
The visit was arranged as part of the regular Friday support sessions run by our East Yorkshire Project Manager Kirsty Clark and the Hinge Centre in Bridlington.
The group gathered first at The Warren for a presentation and video on the issues around knife-crime. This prompted the young people to share their views on why people carry knives and what the dangers are, and to reflect on their own experiences.
“All the knives looked like they’d just come out of your mum’s kitchen.”
Following the discussion session, it was out into the sunshine to see the statue in Queens Gardens. It’s a sobering and thought-provoking sight and the impact on our young people was clear. As one of them pointed out, all the knives ‘looked like they’d just come out of your mum’s kitchen.’
Everyone picked out a message, engraved on the statue from families of victims of knife crime, to bring back to share with the group. They included ‘stop knife-crime for the safety of our children‘, ‘save lives don’t take them‘ and ‘why, why, why, taken so young, Jake taken aged 10′. This last one in particular sparked consternation amongst the group.
“The statue is a powerful tool to show you how knives can affect people”
19 year old Keah was clearly affected by the visit: “I came today because I do a lot of art, a lot of design work and games development. The statue is a powerful tool to show you how knives can affect people, especially with the messages they put on the outside of it. It’s been good to come here.”
Kez was equally pleased to have come along: “I’m really into my art, it’s a really powerful the way they’ve made that statue, it’s just gorgeous, I love it. All those people who handed in knives. I understand where they’re coming from, taking their knives. I’ve surprised myself by not carrying one anymore.”