Starting the campaign, Change Your Life Put Down Your Knife around six months ago, Ben Spann built upon foundations for what has turned out to be the fastest growing knife campaign group in the UK. Gaining support from members and many reformed high-profile ex criminals willing to get the message out there, people like Terry Ellis (who was our first ever feature on this blog), Vinny Bradish and Chris Lambrianou have created a strong message that is here to stay.
Ben says, “we are the group that represents the people: mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, aunties and uncles but most of all every child in the U.K. Our campaign values are simple Prevent, Rehabilitate and Educate.”
Fully committed to the ongoing work that’s involved, the team are aware how much work is required to get them to where they want to be. Ben conveys that with “the support from every parent and grandparent to give us the voice we need. To be able to stand up for what is right our future generations shouldn’t feel the need to have to carry a blade as a necessity like a phone or watch.”
Campaigners: Romail Essex, Vinny Bradish, Tony Turner, Ben Spann,
Chris Lambrianou, Kimberly Ann Overton, Jim Lamianou, and Terry Ellis
Knife crime effects every part of our country and if you’re blinded to that, please take a long, hard look at your community. Unfortunately, it’s become part of culture. It’s a known fact that if you are carrying there’s a greater likelihood of you using rather than not if the opportunity arises—if you carry consider leaving it behind.
Ben speaks for the group, Change Your Life Put Down Your Knife when he says that they “do not tolerate our kids being groomed into gangs, nor will they tolerate them being the victims or the perpetrators of knife crime. Enough is enough. We are doing great things but as you can imagine there is no overnight fix.”
Ben states that working within communities
is one of the important aspects of what they are about and it’s been a great
pleasure to have had a close association with Leamington Amateur Boxing Club,
ran by Ollie O’Neil who are doing fantastic work with our youth, as are Aces
Boxing Club, ran by Harmi Singh. Now in the process of becoming the proud
[main] sponsors of Coventry City Supporter’s Club, the distinctive logo for the
group will soon be displayed on their new kits.
Ben Spann handing over a donation to Leamington Spa Boxing Club
Acutely aware that not all youth are sport minded the group have also been working closely with Hills FM, a Coventry based radio station and also with the homeless and youth services and drug and alcohol rehabilitation services within the area.
As a group, Ben and his team, are looking to carry out educational talks in schools and youth facilities all over the UK, once the Covid-19 situation allows. In the meantime, they will be seeking ways in which our future generations can be occupied, since funding for youth facilities has been cut year upon year. Ben ensures us that their campaign is “enrolling new schemes on a weekly basis as well as being affiliated with many sport facilities locally and across the UK.”
He goes on the say “Thanks for the support of our members and we look forward to all new members who have the same views on this subject.”
by Donna Siggers and David Last