Knife crime is a serious issue that affects many young people in the UK. According to the Office for National Statistics, there were 46,265 offences involving a knife or sharp instrument in England and Wales in the year ending March 2020, an increase of 6% from the previous year. Many of these offences involved young people aged 10 to 24.
To address this problem, Round Midnight, a creative arts company that specialises in using drama and technology to educate and inspire young people, has teamed up with Premier League Kicks, a social inclusion programme that uses football to engage young people in positive activities. Together, they have created and delivered Virtual_Decisions: KNIVES, a multi-award winning virtual reality experience that shows the realistic and devastating consequences of knife crime.
Virtual_Decisions: KNIVES – An Immersive Insight into Knife Crime
Virtual_Decisions: KNIVES is an interactive and immersive experience that puts the user in the shoes of a young person who is faced with a series of choices involving knives. The user can see how their decisions affect their own life and the lives of others, and learn about the legal and emotional implications of carrying or using a knife. The experience is followed by a workshop where the user can reflect on their choices and discuss their feelings with a facilitator.
Since February 2023, Round Midnight has brought Virtual_Decisions: KNIVES to several clubs in the Midlands region that are part of the Premier League Kicks programme. The young participants, who are mostly aged between 11 and 18, have played a football tournament in West Bromwich and then tried Virtual_Decisions: KNIVES. The feedback from the clubs has been very positive, with many participants saying that they have learned a lot from the experience and that it has changed their perspective on knife crime.
Endorsements from Prominent Figures
The project has also gained recognition from some prominent figures in the football world. Julen Lopetegui, the manager of Wolverhampton Wanderers, visited a Wolves Foundation Kicks club and tried Virtual_Decisions: KNIVES himself. He was impressed by the impact and relevance of the experience and praised Round Midnight and Premier League Kicks for their work. His visit was featured on the BBC Match of the Day programme, where he and some of the young participants were interviewed.
Another supporter of the project is Nottinghamshire Police, who have seen the value of Virtual_Decisions: KNIVES as a preventive and educational tool for young people. They have backed the initiative and encouraged more clubs to get involved in it.
As part of the project, Round Midnight has also trained staff from Burton Albion Community Trust to deliver Virtual_Decisions: KNIVES to their own clubs. This way, they have ensured the sustainability and scalability of the work.
Driving Positive Change with Virtual Reality and Premier League Kick
Virtual reality and Premier League Kicks are two innovative ways to tackle knife crime and create positive change in society. Round Midnight and Premier League Kicks hope to continue their collaboration and reach more young people with their message.
If you want to learn more about Premier League Kicks and how it uses football to engage young people in positive activities, please visit https://www.premierleague.com/communities/programmes/community-programmes/pl-kicks.
Experience Virtual_Decisions: KNIVES – an eye-opening initiative combining creative arts and virtual reality to combat knife crime. To learn more or schedule a session for your club or organization, visit www.roundmidnight.org.uk or reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org. Stay updated by following @Round_Midnight1 on social media.