The Student Commission on knife crime in London is a large-scale project in partnership with leading colleges, giving young people a collective voice on this serious issue. Knife crime affects young people disproportionately and the Student Commission is putting young people from the most affected demographics at the heart of finding solutions.
Leaders Unlocked built this project from the ground up, based on our extensive networks within the Further Education sector. In the first year we successfully engaged seven colleges from across the capital including Barnet & Southgate College, Lewisham and Southwark College, London South East Colleges, New City College, Newham Sixth Form College, West Thames College and Westminster Kingsway College.
Working with the participating colleges, we recruited 30 passionate student commissioners and equipped them with the skills needed to research and present the views of their peers. These commissioners co-created a short film and education package, to reach a wide audience of at least 10,000 students.
Recruitment: We supported the colleges with a 2-stage recruitment process to find 30 Student Commissioners. Student Commissioners were guided by Leaders Unlocked and peer mentors with lived experience of knife crime. Peer mentors were recruited through our existing networks, and those linked to the colleges.
Co-design meetings: There were four Student Commission meetings over the course of the project. These events brought together the group to share views and experiences, review college interventions, work with experts, and develop a film and education package. Throughout the project, Commissioners have built their skills in research, public speaking and engaging other young people.
Short film: Working with a film production team, Commissioners took part in a creative session to build the concept for a short film. Young people involved in the project will contribute their voices and experiences to highlight the influences on knife crime, misconceptions people have and solutions to end knife crime in London.
Education Package: With support from Leaders Unlocked and building on everything they have learnt; Commissioners have been delivering the education package to students in the partnering colleges. They have also been co-delivering training with over 500 college staff who will deliver the education package to 10,000 students aged 14-19.
Research and recommendations: Commissioners and staff have been delivering the education package to students and gathering their ideas on tackling knife crime. Based on these insights and their own experiences we co-developed viable recommendations around knife crime prevention.
Stakeholder Conference: The project culminates in July with a presentation to stakeholders and the press. The stakeholder presentation will give our Commissioners a platform to open the eyes of those in the system who can make a difference.
Young people in the 16-24 age group are at most risk of knife violence. The danger of dropping out of education or suffering from stress and anxiety are a burden that young people should not have to live with. Our Student Commissioners will play a vital ongoing role in developing successful interventions across London.
Colleges and sixth forms
Student leaders engaged in social action
Students given a voice through our projects
"Leaders Unlocked has become a really critical partner. The great thing about it is the peer-to-peer aspect and the way the young people use their networks to reach out to a large number of young people. The reach has been phenomenal - across schools, colleges, hostels. We have dealt with many difficult issues, from stop and search to knife crime."