Coventry College students create life-saving campaign amid rise in knife crime

‘Knife Aid’ aims to educate teenagers about the steps that they should take if they find someone who has been stabbed or seriously injured.

(Left to right) Patryk Wawro, Zaakareeya Palmer, Daniel Horsley, Ryan Wilson and Ciaran Pepper.

Rising levels of knife crime across the Midlands have prompted a group of Coventry College students to launch an initiative educating young people about how to treat knife wounds – and save lives.

Five of the College’s public service students have devised their own campaign called ‘Knife Aid’ that is aiming to educate teenagers about the steps that they should take if they find someone who has been stabbed or seriously injured.

Zaakareeya Palmer, Ryan Wilson, Ciaran Pepper, Patryk Wawro and Daniel Horsley are all aiming for a career in the Armed Forces – and came up with the ‘Knife Aid’ idea as part of their course where they had to carry out a social action project.

The initiative comes at a time when the West Midlands has seen a 20 per cent rise year-on-year in crimes that have involved the use of a knife or sharp instrument, according to a report from the Office for National Statistics.

“Most people’s reactions to finding someone with a stab wound would be to dial 999, but there are actually other things you can do which could help to save a life,” said Zaakareeya.

“Provided that you have scanned the area to make sure it is safe, you can help whilst waiting for an ambulance by using your clothes to apply pressure to a wound, and if the knife is still visible, to leave it as found and dress around it.

“We delivered our first session to a group of teenagers at Moat House Neighbourhood & Leisure Centre with some mannequins where we taught them how to treat a wound, and if they are unconscious, how to use the recovery position.

“The reaction we had from them was really positive and they all wanted to get involved in the demonstrations we were doing, which has given us great encouragement to deliver this more widely.

“We can’t stop knife crime from happening, but we can help to educate young people and the wider community with what to do should they come across a victim, which could end up saving lives.

“The long-term aim is to form a charity so that we can take this out into other areas of the community so that more people are equipped to deal with what is a sad, rising trend.

“The more people we can tune in to the mindset of how to save lives of knife victims, the likelier it is that more young people will think twice before picking up a weapon of any kind.”

Zaakareeya and his four counterparts devised the ‘Knife Aid’ concept during the National Citizen Service (NCS) programme where they spent two-and-a-half weeks working on team building, confidence building and learning new skills such as communication, presenting campaigns, project planning, budgeting money, first aid training and sports leadership.

To complete the NCS programme the group had to contribute 30 hours towards a social action campaign of their choice within the local community, to which ‘Knife Aid’ was created. 

The NCS programme was offered as part of their public services course at Coventry College, which was delivered by Sky Blues in the Community.

Chloe Groves, Football Development Manager at Sky Blues in the Community, added: “NCS is a fantastic opportunity for young people. The experiences, confidence, friendships, independence and memories they come away with is priceless.

“NCS is very rewarding and enlightening for all young people and is really a fantastic programme, the effort and hard work that the young people have put in to this programme at Coventry College has been incredible and it has been great to see their journeys and how they have progressed individually.”

Paul Starkey, Head of Faculty at Coventry College, added: “These students epitomise why we include social action projects within our public service courses – so they can translate what they have learned into the community to have a meaningful impact.

“We’re really proud of the initiative that they have shown, and we’re looking forward to helping them in taking the project into the wider community.”