The Worshipful Company of Builders’ Merchants is supporting a new national youth-focused Community Interest Company, Down Tools, dedicated to fighting knife crime. The new organisation works with schools and youth groups to raise awareness of the dangers and consequences of carrying knives.
The latest statistics show that in the year ending March 2021, there were 41,000 offences involving a knife or sharp instrument in England and Wales, including 224 homicides and more than 4,000 hospital admissions. And according to the Down Tools, a third of 11-16 year olds in school have carried a knife within the last year, and 20% of 16 year old boys have attacked someone with or without a knife.
To turn this trend around, Down Tools has developed engaging learning resources for schools to educate children about the facts surrounding knife crime, helping them make informed choices about their future. The resources focus on stopping young people from joining gangs, helping them deal with tough situations in a non-violent way and encouraging them not to carry knives for protection.
WCoBM has donated £2,000 to support Down Tools’ important outreach work, funding the print and distribution of 20,000 bookmarks for schools across the UK. The two-sided bookmarks (pictured) highlight key facts and stats about knife crime, such as the increased chance of someone carrying a knife having their weapon used against them or becoming a target for knife crime themselves. On the flipside, the bookmarks give young people information about WCoBM’s bursary support for school leavers as part of the Company’s #BuildACareerWithoutLimits campaign.
WCoBM Master Andy Williamson commented: “The statistics around knife crime paint a very bleak and sad picture, as the stats show how it disproportionately impacts young people (often men) from disadvantaged backgrounds – either as victims or perpetrators.
“By supporting Down Tools, we can help give more young people the advice and support they need to choose a more positive path and give them information about the opportunities that are open to them once they leave school. Wherever these kids are growing up, their future is not written – we’d love for them to come and make a positive impact on our industry, for us, for them and for their families and communities.”
Here, the #BuildACareerWithoutLimits campaign raises awareness and understanding of the building materials sector and the exciting career opportunities it offers young people.
WCoBM’s bursary of up to £2,000 a person was introduced for people who need financial support to help their learning and development. Fulfilling one of WCoBM’s key objectives of supporting training and education through its charitable fund, the bursary is open to students coming out of full-time education, apprentices, employees working with a stockist or manufacturer of building materials’ or individuals looking to switch careers.