Newcastle United Foundation and Sunderland AFC’s Foundation of Light have joined forces to promote the Knives Impact Everyone campaign launched by Police Commissioner Kim McGuinness and local families who have lost loved ones to violence.

Newcastle United and Sunderland AFC, alongside their registered charities will be championing the impactful campaign across their social media channels, whilst hard-hitting messages will also feature on digital advertising stands at the Stadium of Light during the upcoming FA Cup derby match.

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 Police fund 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.

Through a range of emotionally charged graphics, undelivered messages show the heart-breaking reality of knife crime along with the words: “Knife crime cuts deep. Whether you’re carrying or you’re a victim of knife crime, the consequences impact everyone; family, friends, emergency services and communities.”

Backing the campaign, former Sunderland AFC Striker Kevin Phillips said: “Whatever your background, whatever your club, we have to unite on this so young people walk away from violence. We need to get in front of kids about the dangers and consequences of knives and we are supporting this campaign to do just that.”

Newcastle United Foundation Trustee and former player, Shola Ameobi, said: “Football is so powerful in this part of the world, and it means so much to people of all ages. Football can influence behaviour in young people and inspire them in so many different ways. I’ve seen first-hand for years the work that Newcastle United Foundation does in the community to make positive changes to the lives of those who need guidance and support. The power of the Newcastle United badge is really special to making a positive difference. The YOLO project alongside the Northumbria Violence Reduction Unit is made a significant impact to so many young people in the region and it is great to see the work continuing.”

Kim McGuinness said: “Our football clubs are at the heart of so much that is good about the North East, and it is great to see them setting aside rivalry off the pitch to come together and stand up to knife crime. We’re all proud of region, and this is a strong message that we, the clubs, the fans, the families, are determined to keep it a great place to live.”

The campaign was developed alongside school children from across the region, with the aim of making young people think before picking up a knife, by understanding the impact and consequences of their actions.

Upon launching the campaign, it received widespread support and was backed by Northumbria Police as well as Samantha’s Legacy and The Connor Brown Trust, who have sadly experienced the devastating consequences of knife crime first hand.

Through the popular 20-week YOLO programme delivered in both Foundations, young people are provided with a mentor and the chance to take part in one-to-one sessions, and engage in activities such as sport, music, art, social action projects, as well as tailored interventions to support them in making positive behaviour change and address their needs.