The heart-breaking accounts of Nottinghamshire families who lost loved ones to knife crime will be added to an award-winning workshop.
In a series of candid videos, mothers, sisters, a father and a daughter open up about their devastation - in the hope that their experiences bring the reality of knife crime closer to home and prevent any more Nottinghamshire families going through the same ordeal.
The Nottingham Space will be an expansion of the National Justice Museum’s Choices and Consequences workshop and has been created as part of a partnership between Nottinghamshire Police and Crime Commissioner Caroline Henry and her Violence Reduction Unit, Nottinghamshire Police and the National Justice Museum.
Julie Jones, mum of 17-year-old Ezekiel Clarke, who was killed in an attack in Radford in February 2020, is one of the parents featured in the videos.
She said: “We’re families, we’re in pain and it’s awful. It’s a horrible feeling. I know grieving is grieving but they weren’t ill, they weren’t sick, they lost their life through somebody’s choice.
“Somebody made a decision to do that, and if they’d not they’d probably still be here today - living their life and having fun.”
Lisa Kilkenny is mum of 16-year-old Joseph Whitchurch, of Stapleford, who died in 2020 and whose story is featured in the new workshop.
She said: “If a knife is produced, there is somebody not going home. Broken bones mend, but to have this. It’s just a devastating effect.”
Gill Brailey, Director of Learning at the National Justice Museum, said: “We are incredibly grateful to these families for sharing their experiences with us to create this space.
"Choices and Consequences has been proven to change attitudes around carrying knives and being able to these local stories will encourage young people to realise there are devastating consequences to deciding to pick up a weapon.”
Police and Crime Commissioner Caroline Henry said: “Hearing first-hand what it is like to lose a loved one to knife crime really makes you stop and think what it would mean to you if such a devastating incident happened to one of your family members.
“The young people came from different areas of Nottinghamshire and their deaths have had a profound rippling impact in their families, friendship groups and communities.
“We all have a responsibility to pull together to look at knife crime, talk about what is happening and take action to prevent more knife related deaths. I am proud to support this new workshop which I am sure will help get people talking about what they can do to help reduce this terrible issue, and I look forward to hearing from people what they can do and what they think we need to do.”
The Nottingham Space includes accounts from the families and friends of Byron Griffin, 22, of East Leake, who died in Ilkeston in 2021; Joseph Whitchurch, 16, of Stapleford, who died in 2020; Ezekiel Clarke, 17, of Radford, who died in 2020; Lyrico Steede, 17, of Bulwell, who died in 2018; Johnny Parker, 43, of Hyson Green, who died in 2015; Joshua Bradley, 19, of Bilborough, who died in 2015; and Nathan Somers, 19, of Newark, who died in 2012.
The National Justice Museum partnered with The Ben Kinsella Trust in June 2019 to open Choices and Consequences, a two-hour knife crime prevention workshop based in the Museum’s Victorian police station.
Choices and Consequences, Nottingham mirrors the ground-breaking prevention approach to combating knife crime pioneered by The Ben Kinsella Trust in Islington, London.
It tells the story of Ben Kinsella, who was tragically killed in 2008 aged just 16, and is a vehicle to encourage local young people to think about the consequences of carrying a knife and the choices they can make to avoid becoming impacted by violence.
Despite having to close during the pandemic, over 2,000 young people in Nottingham have taken part since the workshop opened.
The Nottingham Space, which builds on this success, will open for schools and young people in December.
Superintendent Kathryn Craner, Nottinghamshire Police’s knife crime lead, said: “The Choices and Consequences exhibition offers such a powerful way of showing young people the devastating impact knife crime can have.
“We are incredibly grateful to everyone who has come forward to share their own stories of loss as part of the new Nottingham Space.
“Hearing the first-hand experiences of people who have lost loved ones really hits home just how much damage this senseless crime can cause.
“Each of the seven people featured in the new space were from Nottinghamshire, with their tragic deaths all offering important lessons that children attending the workshop can take into their own lives.
“Educating young people about the consequences of carrying a blade so they make the right choices is crucial to reducing offending and preventing these crimes from happening in the first place.
“Engaging with people at a young age about knife crime so they fully understand the impact their decisions can have is a key part of this, which is why these early intervention sessions are so important.
“More than 2,000 local children have learned about Ben Kinsella’s life and death since this workshop first opened, so we are delighted to have this vital educational tool on our doorstep and to now be expanding this offering further.”
Choices & Consequences is open to students from Year 5. Thanks to generous funding from organisations including the Home Office, Nottinghamshire Police, Nottinghamshire Police and Crime Commissioner and her Violence Reduction Unit, Nottingham BID, and Nottingham City Council, places are free for schools, colleges and groups. For more information, visit nationaljusticemuseum.org.uk, email email@example.com or call them on 0115 993 9811.