TRAINING at Saints' gym is just one of the exciting opportunities that will feature in a new campaign to tackle knife crime among youths and raise their aspirations.

In recent years, the town has witnessed a number of worrying knife crime incidents, particularly among youths.

One such case, in August, saw a 16-year-old boy attacked in the park area of the King George V playing fields on Church Road, Haydock.

Three weeks later a boy, also aged 16, was stabbed in the thigh in Pennine Drive, Parr.

In November a teenager was stabbed near Sherdley Park.

Reports of youths carrying knives for "protection" and feeling like lack of opportunity and resources led to to an environment where this behaviour is seen as acceptable has been labelled as a potential cause.

With this in mind, Merseyside Police have launched #BladeFree, a campaign which sees them work with youth organisations and clubs to offer young people exciting opportunities in areas such as sport, music, and theatre to raise aspirations and keep them off the streets and away from knives.

One organisation that has signed up to help youths in the borough is Saints Community Foundation, which is offering youths the opportunity to sign up to train at the training ground based at Cowley school.

This will see them use the same equipment and ground as the likes of Jonny Lomax and Tommy Makinson, with other opportunities available for those in the creative sphere in the borough.

At the launch of the campaign at the club's gym, Police and Crime Commissioner Jane Kennedy, said: "Blade free is a message we are taking out right across Merseyside asking organisations around St Helens like St Helens Rugby Club and others who are willing to support our campaign to show our positive side of Merseyside, a blade free Merseyside.

"A tiny minority of young people carry a knife, really small numbers but everybody else gets frightened because they think more people are carrying them.

"So what we want to show is that it's down to choices, choices people make every single day and we want to them to make the choice with this to go Blade free."

St Helens Community Inspector Dave Morgan said: "St Helens like many areas is one that has been affected by knife crime and the devastating impacts on the people it affects.

"The demographics show that a lot of the time it is young individuals and quite often it is people who feel like there are no other opportunities but things like this aim to show how many amazing facilities are out there.

"It's about demonstrating the amazing activities that are there, giving those young people confidence not to get involved in knife crime and build up skills and opportunities that are positive.

"Anyone who works in St Helens knows how important rugby is, particularly rugby league, and by showing that they have so many brilliant role models here for young people it really is something aspirational."

For more information on how to sign up, or if you are a youth organisation that wants to get involved to help youths in the borough and the city region, go to