By Hannah Connolly
The charity was born in 2008 from the unprovoked stabbing of Oliver Hemsley, a 21-year-old student at Central Saint Martins, an incident which left him in a wheelchair.
In 2011, Oliver’s friend Katy Dawe established Art Against Knives on the premise that young people should be the leaders in creating their own positive futures.
"When I first set up Art Against Knives 10 years ago, we all knew that taking a preventative approach was key to reducing youth violence. A decade later, and we still know this to be true, yet it's never been harder to secure funding for this work. This campaign is about saving a vital safe space for 400+ young people, but it's also about showing them that we are willing to invest in them. This space has been built on their vision, and driven by their commitment and passion - let's show them that we see and hear them." Katy told The Stack.
Art Against Knives provides a vital, safe environment, that builds trusting and lasting relationships
Young people across the UK continue to face immense risks, all of which have been exacerbated by the pandemic, with mental health being a key driver for why creative spaces like this are paramount.
In a survey conducted by Young Minds it is reported that 80% of their respondents agreed that the pandemic had made their mental health worse, with 41% saying their mental health had become "much worse."
Within the spaces provided by Art Against Knives, skilled professionals provide skills training, mentoring and specialist long term support. A safe environment that builds trusting and lasting relationships, putting the narrative firmly in the hands of the young people they work with.
To date, the team at Art Against Knives have supported over 1,500 young people across London.
“We’ve been co-creating community spaces with young people for over a decade. Our creative studio in Barnet is a hub of activity and is home to our youth-led nail/hair bar, music and podcast studio.”
“To date the team have supported over 1,500 young people across London”
The team need a minimum of £80k to ensure the space stays open a bare minimum of three days a week and to maintain the specialist team in place to support young people at risk. However, the team's ambition is to be open five days a week, this would cost a total of £145k. “We’re on a mission to secure this by February 2022, and we need your help.”
To donate please visit the Art Against Knives dontations page and help support their vital youth outreach in London.
A vital hub for creative expression and a safe space putting the narrative back in the hands of London's vulnerable youth - here’s why this charity needs your help today
By Hannah Connolly
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