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