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Artful Voices: Empowering Luton’s Youth to Speak Out Against Knife Crime

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Funded by the Youth Partnership Service in an inspiring partnership with British Ironworks, Luton Council, Luton Rising, Bedfordshire and Luton Community Foundation, Mary Seacole and Wingman Mentors. This initiative is taking place in the months of June – August 2024. Designed to raise awareness about knife crime among the youth of Luton, this project offers a creative platform for young people to express their views and make their voices heard.

Raising Awareness Through Education

Wingman Mentors are leading the charge with impactful interventions in local schools. They educate young people about knife crime’s dangers and consequences through dynamic assemblies and workshops. These sessions are more than informational—they are designed to ignite meaningful discussions and empower students to become advocates for change in their communities.

A Creative Competition with a Purpose

Artful Voices is more than an educational campaign; it’s a call to action for Luton’s youth. The initiative invites young people to participate in a creative competition, encouraging them to express their thoughts and feelings about knife crime through various art forms. This competition allows for powerful and diverse expressions, whether this is through poetry, rap, spoken word, or music.

The competition is divided into two age groups, with a £500 prize voucher for the winner and runner-up prizes in each group. The most compelling work will have the unique opportunity to be featured on the Knife Angel via augmented reality (AR), bringing its message to a wider audience in a cutting-edge format.

Showcasing Talent at the Hat Factory

The journey doesn’t end with the competition. Mary Seacole Housing will host an exhibition showcasing all the entries, at the Hat Factory. There is a special presentation on 23rd July. The public can view the exhibition from 24th to 25th July, providing a platform for these young voices to be heard and appreciated by the wider community. 

The Knife Angel Comes to Luton

A significant highlight of this initiative is the arrival of the Knife Angel statue, a powerful symbol created by the British Ironworks Centre to raise awareness about knife crime. The statue will be displayed in St George’s Square, Luton, with a civic opening ceremony on 3rd August 2024. This iconic piece will serve as a poignant reminder of the impact of knife crime and the importance of initiatives like Artful Voices in combating this issue.

Community Engagement and Solutions

The Youth Partnership Service is committed to continuing the conversation and finding solutions to knife crime in Luton. By hosting community interventions and solutions, they aim to create a safer environment for the young people of Luton, ensuring that the voices heard through Artful Voices lead to real change.