Take a Knife Save a Life: Anti-knife crime campaigners to receive community heroes award
PUBLISHED: 07:00 24 April 2019
Residents campaigning against knife crime recovered a machete from a Rainham park and are set to receive a community hero award for their work trying to reduce knife crime.
The Take a Knife Save a Life volunteers patrol the streets with the aim of providing guidance and opportunities for people to anonymously hand over knives for disposal.
Within two weeks of starting the campaign, the group has been selected for a Community Heroes Award by Troan Charity, an organisation that works with the homeless and rewards community groups in east London.
Stephen Gowers, who founded the campaign with Stacy Hayes, said: “It's nice to actually achieve something and be able to help people. It's a bit surreal.
“We actually enjoy liaising with the [public]. We've met some really good people.
“We're going to lots of different areas. We've been to Collier Row and Brentwood.”
On Monday, April 22, the group recovered a machete that was hidden in a tree in Bretons Park, Rainham near Dagenham East.
Stephen said: “We were patrolling when we heard that there was some people causing a nuisance around Harrow Lodge park.
“We decided to go there to spread awareness. A member of the public came up to us and said that he knew where a knife was.
“We ended up walking all the way to Dagenham East. I had to climb up a tree to get it. It was a big nasty machete with a makeshift handle.”
The volunteers also discovered a camp site made out of wood and umbrellas. They retrieved the weapon and handed it in to officers at Romford Police Station.
Stephen explained that the group not only aims to provide awareness about knife crime but also to serve as a friendly neighbourhood presence.
Maureen Jones, a trained nurse and regular volunteer, was able to assist an elderly man when he collapsed in Hilldene Avenue, Harold Hill.
“He had Parkinson's and dementia and he was really dehydrated,” said Stephen. “We got him a blanket and got him in the recovery position. Our nurse, Maureen, was able to provide assistance until the ambulance arrived.
“We're not just about getting knives off the street, we're there to help the elderly and anyone that needs it.”
Volunteers from Take a Knife Save a Life will receive their award on Friday, April 26 in Ripple Road, Barking.
To support the campaign visit the justgiving page atjustgiving.com/crowdfunding/takeaknifesavealife.