On Wednesday 28 November 2018, we hosted a ‘Question Time’-style event focusing on issues of knife crime and gang violence. It brought students, staff and local organisations together and aimed to facilitate open discussion over the issues, hear the facts about knife crime and how to stay safe.
Learners posed questions to the expert panel and shared their experiences with them. The panel chaired by Reverend Nims Obunge, outlined the threats, influences and ways the community could take direct action and preventative measures to address the awful waste of life and serious life changing injuries inflicted almost daily on the streets of London. Yvonne Lawson gave a heart breaking account of her experience as a mother losing her son to a fatal stabbing in 2010 and the impact of knife crime on families.
CONEL student Syed Salam said: “This was an excellent event for us as young people to hear about the effects of knife-crime on families and the wider community.
“Also, hearing from various organisations that are involved in tackling knife crime at a grassroots level was good, as I now know what they are doing, and how I can get involved in helping to reduce knife crime in my community.”
In spring 2018, the college supported Mayor of London Sadiq Khan’s campaign to clamp down on knife crime, educating students about the risks and consequences associated with carrying a knife.
Back in March, CONEL students shared their views with the Godwin Lawson Foundation, which helps young people find opportunities away from crime. The charity was set up by Yvonne Lawson, the mother of 17 year-old Godwin Lawson, who grew up in Tottenham and was killed in a knife attack in 2010.
Yvonne Lawson returned as a panellist at our ‘Question Time’ event in November 2018, alongside Chairperson Reverend Nims Obunge (College Governor), DI Timothy Tubbs (British Transport Police), Franklyn Addo (Homerton Hospital), Kwabz Oduro Ayim (CEO, Mixtape Madness), Royston John (CEO, National Coalition-Building Institute), Junior Smart (Founder, SOS Project) and Dr Angela Hervet MBE (Vice Chair, Knife and Violent Crime Prevention Group).
Anthony Robinson, Head of Learner Experience Manager at CONEL, said: “Giving students the opportunities to discuss their views and opinions of the issues of knife and gang crime is key to developing solutions for this growing problem.
“At CONEL we are passionate about ensuring that our students have a strong voice to effect change. We have received funding from the Mayor’s Young Londoners Fund to help us develop activities for our students that will deter them away from getting involved in criminal activities and make better life choices.”