How we can help kids beat the knife scourge BY ENG­LAND RUGBY LE­GEND DALLAGLIO

Daily Mirror (Northern Ireland) - - BRIAN READE -

as Jamie Vardy, and Strictly stars Graeme Swann, and Katya and Neil Jones.

But while Dallaglio is proud of the suc­cesses with the chil­dren, he also knows a lot more has to be done to com­bat the hor­rific ex­plo­sion of knife crime. Ear­lier this week the Mir­ror re­vealed shock­ing pic­tures of a school­boy pos­ing with a 10in blade out­side a school in Bris­tol.

It comes af­ter 72 fa­tal stab­bings in Lon­don alone and 40,417 knife of­fences recorded in the year to March. Last month Jai Sewell, 15, be­came one of the youngest killed when he was at­tacked out­side a chicken shop in Tulse Hill, Lon­don.

Dallaglio be­lieves the killings can be stopped with the right sup­port.

The Dallaglio Rug­by­works or­gan­i­sa­tion aims to get teenagers out­side of main­stream ed­u­ca­tion into sus­tained ed­u­ca­tion, em­ploy­ment or train­ing. His fundrais­ing cy­cle rides take place ev­ery two years.

By the end of this year, they will have helped 1,000 of 4,000 per­ma­nently ex­pelled 14 to 17-year-olds.

He told the Mir­ror: “The work we do with the young peo­ple on our pro­gramme can be trans­for­ma­tional. I re­mem­ber one lad who was ex­cluded for tak­ing a knife into school.

“But we have worked hard with him over three years to see him turn him­self around from a very an­gry young man… to a dili­gent stu­dent suc­ceed­ing in his col­lege course.”

He added: “Typ­i­cally, our stu­dents come from ar­eas with high lev­els of so­cial de­pri­va­tion. At one Pupil Re­fer­ral Unit in Tower Ham­lets [East Lon­don], for ex­am­ple, 45% of our young peo­ple live in poverty…

“All of the young peo­ple on our pro­gramme have been ex­cluded from main­stream ed­u­ca­tion for a wide va­ri­ety of rea­sons, rang­ing from ag­gres­sive be­hav­iour to sim­ply not at­tend­ing school at all.

“Crime and gang in­volve­ment is a ma­jor risk in the com­mu­ni­ties we work in… 63% of the prison pop­u­la­tion were ex­cluded from school at some stage in their lives.

“Some say it’s about giv­ing them a se­cond chance – but with our young peo­ple, it’s of­ten their first chance.”

TOP MAN Lawrence with Mike Tin­dall at awards

CHAMP With 2003 World Cup

WIN­NER With award this week

TRAGIC Jai Sewell

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