Young people from YMCA Newcastle's City Centre youth project, SPACE2..., have launched a social media campaign to highlight the effects of knife crime for both victims and perpetrators, aiming to help to reduce crime rates in the City Centre. 

The knife crime social media project will be delivered thanks to the funding given to us by the #iwill fund. The National Lottery Community Fund and Department of Culture, Media & Sport are each investing £20 million seed funding over four years to create the #iwill fund. The Community Foundation Tyne & Wear and Northumberland is acting as match funder and are awarding grants on behalf of the #iwill fund.

With the funds awarded, young people have designed their own content for a wide-reaching social media campaign on Facebook and Instagram based on their own experiences of knife crime as young people in Newcastle. The campaign features a short film produced, directed and filmed by young people that highlights the consequences of knife crime for perpetrators, victims and families across the region. The young people received training from a local film maker, digital marketer and presentation expert to produce the content for the campaign.

You can view the social media campaign here and view their short film, Shanked, below.

In recent years, national knife crime rates have increased dramatically, and in Newcastle, the number of reported incidents of possession of a weapon has increased by 33%. Last year in Newcastle, 168 arrests were made for possession of weapons in the City Centre alone. Across the city, 6,340 violent crimes were reported last year, and 8,330 incidents of anti-social behaviour. 33% of all knife crime arrests in Newcastle were made in the City Centre: this demonstrates a real need for awareness of the consequences of carrying weapons. The increase in arrests made for possession of weapons among young people in the City Centre coincides with the reduction of activities and support services in place for disadvantaged young people. An increase in violent gang content on social media has also been attributed to escalating crime rates among young people.

In addition to their campaign, the group of young people are delivering workshops to various youth groups which will help to increase awareness of the dangers of possessing weapons.

The project will significantly improve the employment prospects of the group by equipping them with essential skills and experience in digital marketing, project management, filmography and public speaking.