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Working with young people to help prevent knife crime

A theatre group has been working with young people in Castle Point to produce anti knife crime videos.

Filming in progress *Taken before social distancing*

London Bus Theatre Company uses drama to encourage youths to tackle some of the social challenges they face. Films are written, directed, edited and produced by young people who pick the theme they feel is important to them.
The most recent year-long project saw 30 11 to 16-year-olds from secondary schools on Canvey choose to tackle the issue of knife crime.

The Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner for Essex (PFCC) contributed £9,960 to London Bus Theatre Company from the 2019/2020 Community Safety Development Fund for the work.

Kathy Austen, project manager, said: “We have been running a drama club every weekend for young people on Canvey. They decided they wanted to produce a short film on antisocial behaviour, so we taught them how to act and put together a story around knife crime. They worked with the East of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust (EEAST) and used some of their staff in the film which features a gang fight where someone gets stabbed. They wanted to show what the ambulance crew tried to do for the victim.
“They filmed the footage in January and February and were able to edit it and complete the project during lockdown. They produced a really nice film.
“The PFCC has supported us a lot over the years which is really useful. We cannot do this without the support.”

Filming in progress *Photo taken before social distancing*

The theatre company auditions for its projects, which are free and often end in young people gaining work in the industry or qualifications.

Kathy said: “In other cases, young people are referred to us. We provide positive opportunities for young people at the weekends which are creative and keep them off the streets or from staring at a computer screen. We see another side to them as it is something they want to do.

“This has been an interesting project where they have worked with each other, made new friends and developed skills which are transferable, such as team-building and communication. They have also developed confidence; they were all much more confident by the end of the project after seeing their ideas realised by working with others.
“We are trying to provide something fantastic for young people in the area. It is to help them and the community and to create something great.”

Roger Hirst, Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner for Essex, said: “Tackling gangs and serious violence, and protecting children and vulnerable people from harm are two of the priorities in our Police and Crime Plan. This has been a great project as the young people of Canvey produced a film that was not only important to them but one that can raise awareness amongst other young people of the dangers of knife crime. We were really pleased to be able to support this excellent work and thank you as well to our colleagues in the ambulance service who were involved.”

You can view the film here:

For more information on the London Bus Theatre Company head to:

Filming in progress *Photo taken before social distancing*

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PFCC for Essex, Kelvedon Park, London Road, Rivenhall, Witham, Essex, CM8 3HB
01245 291600

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