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American football flags up the dangers of violent crime to students

Students participated in a game of American football as part of a series of college events to deter them from violent crime.

American football flags up the dangers of violent crime to students

Around 250 students at the College of Haringey Enfield and North East London (CONEL) have participated in anti-crime related activities this academic year.

In the year prior to the first COVID-19 lockdown in March 2020, the number of killings in London increased by nearly a quarter from 115 to 142 and fatal stabbings rose by 28 per cent.

Twelve young people have been fatally stabbed in the capital this year including two in Haringey.

The 12-week Exodus programme run by coaching and development consultancy UpskillU mentored students on knife crime, gangs, county lines and criminal exploitation followed by a game of NFL Flag to improve physical wellbeing.

NFL Flag is a version of American football where instead of tackling players the defensive team must remove a flag from an opposing player carrying the ball.

Students later joined an online chat with anti-knife crime campaigner Yvonne Lawson, the mother of Godwin Lawson, who was stabbed to death in Hackney in March 2010.

Applied Science course student Adanwali Jamal, 20, from Hackney, said: ““I felt very sad hearing Yvonne Lawson tell her story about how Godwin had a good future and how she lost him to knife crime.

“Last year I had an accident on my bike and went to hospital and there was a young man crying because he had got in a fight and been stabbed in the leg.

“There is too much knife crime in London. If someone gets too close to you, you’re always scared they might be carrying a knife. It’s good that the college is teaching us how to be safe.”

Students also participated in six-week workshops run by mentoring charity Manhood Academy Global focusing on self-awareness, peer pressure, crime and education.

Other sessions included a four-week programme run by CONEL looking at the realities of gang crime and legal implications of carrying a knife, and the Aspire programme run by The Safety Box on changing negative behaviour and attitudes.

The activities were supported by the Young Londoners Fund, an initiative run by the Mayor of London to help children and young people potentially at risk of getting into crime.

Anthony Robinson, Head of Learner Experience and Industry Placements at CONEL, said: “Knife and gang-related crime has hugely increased in London over the past decade, and resulted in the exploitation, injury and death of many vulnerable young people.

“By offering these activities and mentoring programmes, with the support of the Young Londoners Fund, the college is providing the help, advice and guidance they need to make the right life choices and discourage them from getting involved in crime.”

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