Bailey’s tragic death shows why our work is vital, says charity planning pioneering programme with Stevenage schools
- Credit: Archant
A growing charity which is bringing a pioneering education programme to Stevenage secondary schools in the new year says the tragic murder of Scottish schoolboy Bailey Gwynne makes its mission even more pressing.
Bailey, 16, died of knife wounds at his Aberdeen school last week after an attack witnessed by dozens of schoolmates.
Herts-based Billy’s Wish will be providing its six-week course about personal safety, how to combat bullying and warning of the consequences of knife crime from January.
The charity was founded in memory of knife crime victim Billy Dove, who died four years ago as he tried to break up a late-night brawl in Hemel Hempstead.
Since the 21-year-old trainee mechanic’s death his family and friends have been growing their schools programme across Herts and hope eventually to take their message nationwide.
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There are three tailored modules aimed at junior school pupils in Year 6, and at secondary school classes in Years 7 and 8, although the messages are relevant to other age groups as well.
The programme, which includes detailed lesson plans and hard-hitting videos, has already won a string of awards and been praised by impressed teachers.
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Charity director Jan Maddern said: “Bailey’s death is sadly all too common – knives are used in four out of every 10 murders in the UK involving young people and the most common age to start carrying a knife is between 14 and 17.
“Our aim is to reach out and give young people the information, and the confidence, they need to make the right choices about their safety.
“Knife crime is quite rightly a persistent and worrying concern for parents, police and the public – and young people themselves.
“One moment of madness with a knife will affect many people, even if the knife isn’t actually used.
“Just carrying a knife could result in four years in prison.
“Young people falsely believe that carrying a knife will protect them, but in the majority of incidents people get stabbed with their own knife.
“The very powerful message throughout our programme is that it is not cool to carry a knife.”
The charity hopes to extend its work to primary schools in Stevenage, as well as schools in North Herts and Central Beds.
You can find out more about its work online at www.billyswish.org.uk.
A fundraising boxing night in Stevenage on Saturday night, when former welterweight world champion John H Stracey will act as a special guest judge, will be supporting its work.
For tickets to the Holiday Inn event visit www.iboxpromotions.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org, but you will also be able to pay on the night.