ST Helens College has launched a knife crime initiative to educate primary school children about the impact of knife crime on our community in response to recently released statistics.

The statistics, released in May, revealed that knife crime has risen by 93 per cent across Merseyside, including 612 knife or blade-related offences in 2013, which has since increased to 1,181 in the last five years.

They recently launched the programme, in partnership with The Daniel Fox Foundation, and ADAM - the charities set up in memory of Thatto Heath knife crime victim Daniel Fox and Prescot knife crime victim Adam Ellison - as well as Real Men Don’t Carry Knives, Saints Development Foundation, Love Jasmine and Merseyside Police.

The event, which started with a performance of Black Eyed Peas' Where is the love? performed by music students, included emotional speeches by family members of both Adam Ellison and Daniel Fox, who lost their lives to knife crime when they were both aged 29.

The students also had the opportunity to speak with local organisations and charities, and experienced walking through a knife arch, provided by Merseyside Police.

Alan Walsh, who leads the ‘Real Men Don’t Carry Knives’ campaign across Merseyside, has seen first-hand the devastating consequences of knife crime, and has also been a victim of knife crime himself.

Alan said: “We want young people to understand that they have a choice. They can make the decision not to carry a knife. They need to know that they do not need to carry a knife to feel safe.

"Carrying a knife has become part of a culture; young people think it is a fashion to carry a knife. We are working hard to spread the message and break down the stigma.”

Jeanine Williams, Safeguarding and Wellbeing Manager at Knowsley and St Helens College, added: “We feel the education of young people is essential to put a stop to them carrying and using knives.

"We are not only educating our students but also working across the Knowsley and St Helens boroughs.

"We feel like we have a responsibility to educate these young people so that it does not become normal to carry a knife.”

“A collaborative approach is always better than an individual one. Young people in our communities and across Liverpool are still becoming victims. We have to work together to address the problem.”

The College’s Safeguarding and Wellbeing Team and partner organisations have been meeting with students this week, to deliver hard-hitting presentations, from the perspective of someone who has become a victim of knife crime.

The team will be visiting both primary and secondary schools across St Helens and Knowsley in the coming weeks, to continue spreading the important message.