The latest news from the Violence and Vulnerability Unit including;

Knife Angel leaving Harlow
United Against Knife Crime
“It’s about your son”
The power of sport


Knife Angel leaving Harlow

Saturday afternoon saw the closing ceremony of the Knife Angel’s visit to Harlow. Roger Hirst, PFCC for Essex and Chair of the Violence and Vulnerability Partnership joined guests at Harlow Playhouse Square for an evening of speeches, performances and poetry from community leaders, artists, and advocates. All of whom had come together to address the issue of knife crime and promote healing and unity within the Harlow community.

The Knife Angel now leaves Harlow to start a month-long residency outside the Jumbo Water Tower in Colchester. We will bring you more news on the programme of activity surrounding its Colchester stay in the next few newsletters.

*Picture shows L to R, Cllr Dan Swords, Leader of Harlow Council, Roger Hirst, PFCC for Essex and Melanie Hopwood, Founder of the Tommy Jones project


United Against Knife

Prior to Colchester United beating Notts County 5-4 on Saturday(!) the Colchester United squad warmed up in a new United Against Knife Crime kit, one of the main visual ways for the team to highlight Saturday’s anti-knife initiative.

The goal filled match on Saturday was dedicated to raising awareness of knife crime, with the game kicking off the month-long programme of activities planned for the Knife Angel’s stay in the city.

Colchester United Community Foundation, the VVU, Essex Police, the PFCC for Essex, Colchester City Council and the Red Cross all came together to use Saturday’s match to highlight the devastation knife crime can bring to communities.

While incidents of knife crime are rare, the more that families, young people and children are aware and educated on the dangers of knife harm the more we can do to reduce these tragic incidents.

Saturday’s match day programme included resources and support for parents on knife harm, and following the match under 16s could collect a free mini football from Essex Police in exchange for a leaflet about the United Against Knife Harm initiative.  Under 16s also have the chance to win match day tickets and a replica kit by answering questions on the organisations who participated in the day.

Media organisations were really interested in the initiative with interviews taking place across Essex broadcast media channels.

We thank all partners for coming together in such a special way and standing ‘United Against Knife Crime.’


“It’s about your son”

The VVU team were excited to host the premiere of a theatre performance about knife crime at the Stanway School, Colchester last week.

Featuring a cast of four, the play “It’s about your son” explores reactions, feelings and family dynamics surrounding the death of a young person to knife crime. The play explores feelings of guilt, responsibility and friendship in both the victim and perpetrators family and friends.

We were joined at the performance by Deputy Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner Jane Gardener and Deputy Chief Constable of Essex Police, Andy Prophet.

The play was written by EastEnders script writer Deborah Cook and includes local actors.

The play is part of a suite of material, including lesson plans and resources that are going into Colchester schools to support teachers to use with their Y7 and Y8 pupils, including in PSHE lessons.

The performance was incredibly powerful, the audience was totally focused on the action happening on stage and the dialogue between the characters. Some of the scenes visibly moved some of the invited audience.

We know knife crime is a difficult and emotive subject to talk about with young people, and an incredibly important topic to speak with our young people about, we thank everyone for their support in ensuring ‘It’s about your son’ is delivered in a sensitive way.

The VVU Knife Harm campaign is now live (and includes useful resources for helping parents and carers to have conversations with their young people about knife harm) – these are available at  Please do take a look and share on.


The power of sport

The power of sport in preventing youth violence was the theme of the recent conference hosted by the Active Essex Foundation.
Featuring Fatima Whitbread MBE as one of the keynote speakers, the conference looked at how sport, opportunities, trusted adults and early intervention can have positive impacts on diverting young people away from violence and risky behaviours and into a more positive life path and improved choices.
The VVU joined AEF to present a workshop on using sport and activity to navigate away from criminality and exploitation. The workshop prompted good debate and discussion amongst delegates on the positive impact of sport intervention.

If you would like to find out more about any of the items in this newsletter please get in touch    Visit our website or follow us on Twitter @EssexVVU Instagram: @EssexVVU or Facebook: Essex Violence and Vulnerability Unit