FOOTBALL fans from across Tyne and Wear put football rivalry and scorelines to one side, to show their support for the region’s Knives Impact Everyone campaign.
Committed to fighting back against knife crime, local charities Samantha’s Legacy and The Connor Brown Trust were invited to the pitch ahead of kick off alongside Northumbria’s Police Commissioner Kim McGuinness and the Violence Reduction Unit, to get their powerful anti-knife message in front of thousands of derby day fans.
As a result of this, the campaign received huge waves of support across social media with fan groups like Newcastle United Supporters Club and the Red and White Army who have proudly given their backing to the knife crime prevention cause.
In what was a moving moment in front of the crowds, the families held up campaign graphics showing emotionally charged phone screen shots of undelivered messages to illustrate heart-breaking reality of knife crime. The hard-hitting campaign also lit up digital advertising stands at the Stadium of Light during Saturday’s FA cup match, with the words “Knife crime cuts deep. Whether you’re carrying a knife or you’re a victim of knife crime, the consequences impact everyone; family, friends, emergency services and communities.”
Police Commissioner, Kim McGuinness, said: “It doesn’t get much bigger for the North East than a Tyne and Wear derby so to give the campaign this platform has felt a really momentous occasion. We’re so proud of football in our region and I’m proud of how the clubs are coming together to highlight how knife crime can impact so many lives. Getting in front of so many to highlight our campaign is a result in itself. I can’t thank the families of Samantha Madgin and Connor Brown enough. As well as the clubs for helping us bring plans to life, and of course the fans for joining us to champion this cause. Historic rivalry aside, hearing the crowds cheer backing this important work is what it’s all about.”
Greg Tomlinson, Chair, Newcastle United Supporters Trust: “There are some things that are more important than black and white or red and white believe it or not and this is one of them. The consequences of knife crime impact everyone, leaving mates without their friends and devastating families and communities. As football supporters, and as a community, we stand together to support this vital work against knife crime.”
Tanya Brown, the mother of knife victim Connor Brown – a football lover and proud Sunderland fan said: “We would like to add how much we appreciate being asked to be involved in this fantastic initiative. This is very close to our hearts as a family, and Connor was very passionate about football, as are many others. This opportunity gives us the ability to highlight the importance of the Knives Impact Everyone campaign in such a big way. We can reach so many more people raising the awareness of Knife Crime and the impact it has on everyone.”
The Knives Impact Everyone campaign was launched in 2023, by Police Commissioner Kim McGuinness and the Northumbria Violence Reduction Unit, to highlight the devastating consequences carrying a knife can have, as well as sign-posting people to support and advice. As part of this work, Northumbria’s VRU funds projects at both Newcastle United Foundation and the Foundation Light, with the YOLO initiative aimed at steering young people away from knife crime, whilst also creating a range of opportunities and support to help young people make positive life choices away from crime.
Information about the campaign can be found here: Knives Impact Everyone – Northumbria PCC (northumbria-pcc.gov.uk)