30 blades a month dropped in knife bin
Organisers say project has got people talking about how to stop the stabbings
10 June, 2019 — By Helen Chapman
Rev Majorie Brown and Jason Allen at the launch of the knife bin
THIRTY blades have been collected every month since the borough’s first knife bin was sited in Primrose Hill.
The bin was set up outside St Mary’s Church, in Elsworthy Road, in December in the hope that it would help take weapons off the streets in a safe and secure manner.
Jason Allen, the church’s youth service manager, said it had been more successful in “raising a conversation”.
He told a neighbourhood meeting at Primrose Hill Community Centre: “If a young person is going to throw away a knife, let’s be real: they are probably going to throw it away in a bush. “But where I think it has been more successful is in making people aware that this [knife crime] is on their doorstep. I know we had one parent who said she had been dropping knives off from her kitchen, which is good as a deterrent.”
The charity worked for 10 years with Calvin Bungisa, 22, who died in April after being ambushed by a group of men in Grafton Road. St Mary’s helps support young people involved with or at risk of being drawn into youth violence.
Journalist Andrew Marr, who lives in Primrose Hill, recently became a patron of the charity.
Mr Allen said: “We get our referrals from youth offending teams, family workers, schools, prisons, street referrals – that is how we build up our cohort. “We have worked with just over 150 people intensely in the past year.”
He helps young people aged from 10 to 25 and mentors pupils at Haverstock, UCL Academy and William Ellis schools.
Speaking at last Wednesday’s meeting, Mr Allen added: “With some young people we can’t turn their lives around, but we have been there with them for that journey. “A lot of these young people have not had the opportunities that others have had. They are not equipped in school to have a basic conversation and that leads them to dangerous situations which can be a matter of life or death.”
He added: “Schools have been hit, the prison system is getting hit with cuts. Every sector that is trying to help in various ways is getting cut. Yet in some cases now it is a matter of kill or be killed.”