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Knife crime workshops to target Rochford schoolchildren

3 October 2016
Caroline Shearer, who runs Only Cowards Carry, with her son Jay Whiston who was stabbed to death.

Rochford teenagers are to be educated on the devastating effects of knife crime in a far-reaching community safety project.

Weapon awareness charity Only Cowards Carry is expanding its hard-hitting workshops to reach more school pupils thanks to funding from Rochford Housing.

Year 10 pupils at King Edmund School, - aged between 14 and 15 – will get one-hour interactive sessions delivered by victims and perpetrators that involve role play, the law and real-life stories on the consequences of carrying or using a knife.

Pupils will hear hard hitting facts about the consequences of knife crime, including how national statistics show more than 78 per cent of people who carry a knife get stabbed themselves.

Chris Silvey, resident involvement officer for Rochford Housing, said: “These workshops are a valuable way to help educate young people about the dangers of knife crime and the potential impacts of carrying a knife on not only their own lives, but those of their families and friends.”

Clacton-on-Sea-based Only Cowards Carry has already reached 50,000 schoolchildren since it was set up four years ago by Caroline Shearer, whose 17-year-old son Jay Whiston was stabbed to death at a party in Colchester in 2012.

The school project comes as knife crime nationally has risen in the past year with police recording over 28,000 offences involving a knife or a sharp instrument - a 10 per cent increase on the previous year.

Caroline Shearer, founder of Only Cowards Carry, said: “This funding from Rochford Housing is incredibly important as it helps us reach more children to talk about this important issue. One workshop can make the difference between life and death and prevent a parent suffering the way I have.

“We believe these workshops are something that all schools need as even if we can persuade one young person to stop carrying a knife, it means one more life we’re saving.”

The knife crime workshops are funded by Rochford Housing’s Maureen’s Gift fund, which provides funding for local projects that benefit residents and their neighbourhoods.