On New Year’s Eve, a 16-year-old boy died after he was stabbed in west London. He was found shortly after the discovery of a 15-year-old boy, who had been fatally wounded near Croydon. Their untimely deaths pushed the total of teenage homicides in the capital up to 30 – the highest since records began; the youngest two killed were only 14.
Despite years of apparent concern, how is "the knife crime epidemic" getting worse? Why has funding for youth services fallen by 70% since 2011, causing the closure of 750 youth centres, which could have been the difference between life and death?
This Christmas, nearly 30 families sat together, facing an empty seat where a son once sat.
No more red.
Save for a few articles, most people wouldn’t know the extent of the problem. But since last Friday (7 January) I have read post after post, across Twitter and LinkedIn. The knife crime epidemic is back on the front pages. People are talking, people are angry, people want to make sure those lives were not lost in vain.
Why? Because “No more red” did something monumental. It made people address the growing numbers during Sunday’s FA Cup clash between Arsenal and Nottingham Forest. Symbolising their ambition to eradicate bloodshed on London’s streets, each Arsenal footballer appeared clad in an entirely white strip (including the shirts' sponsorship logos and players' names), rather than the club's usual red.
Now they’ve got our attention, the campaign itself is only the catalyst to a multi-year partnership that will support Londoners from communities at risk of violence. Using its 35 years' experience of working with the community, Arsenal will collaborate with Adidas to actively try to prevent any more unnecessary bloodshed.
It's rare when a campaign stops you in your tracks. But all those involved have given those 30 families hope that things can't continue in this trajectory. That someone sees them. That we all see them.
More talk, more action. No more red.
Brand Arsenal and Adidas
Title "No more red"
Director Tom Day
Production company Outsider