In July and August 2020 the Youth Commission and Hampshire Cultural Trust worked in partnership to raise awareness of knife crime and promote positive activities for young people.
Within Hampshire, Basingstoke is an area facing a high level of knife crime. The Youth Commission has been working closely with the Violence Reduction Unit to both identify the drivers of violence, and interventions that could help prevent young people taking a path that leads to violence. Hearing concerns from the community, this project was led by local resident and serious violence team mentor for the Youth Commission, James Bowman.
The Basingstoke Peace Project aims to raise awareness of the consequences of knife crime and promote positive activities for young people. Hampshire Cultural Trust (HCT) developed a series of positive, creative sessions with the aim to give young people a safe space for discussion, as well as opportunities to learn new skills and value their voice and contribution within the final artwork. Artist Jono Retallick worked with young people designing a piece of art that incorporates their personal reflections on knife crime and represents peace. The individual artworks contributed to a sculpture which will tour to various locations, including schools, and will act as a discussion piece as a positive focus for young people.
Groups included young people from:-
- Ashwood Academy, (Part of Catch 22 Academy)
- YMCA Basingstoke
- HIOW Youth Offending Team
The final sculpture is made up of 144 tiles created by the young people. These were then cast by artist Jono Retallick to create a final sculpture revealing the words and marks revealing individual reflections, concerns and also their strengths. The title for the sculpture Reveal/Conceal was decided by young people as they felt the workshops helped them reveal their creativity, ideas and find their own strengths.