Lives not Knives are based on the Upper Mall of Central Shopping Centre in Croydon. Open six days a week, Lives not Knives provide a wide range of services to support and help young people to relies their ambitions through apprenticeship programs, workshops and events.

Eliza’s Story – Founder of Lives Not Knives

Eliza founded the campaign at the age of 14. Youth crime and gang culture had made a profound impact on her. The campaign started with just a t-shirt in bold print reading “LIVES NOT KNIVES”. Eliza organised an event with the money raised from the sale of the t-shirts in February 2008.

After completing the “Calling the Shots” programme with “From Boyhood to Manhood”, Eliza spoke at a school about the dangers of youth crime and gangs. Eliza then worked with a group of mentors to develop and pilot a preventative programme to deliver to primary and secondary schools in Croydon. That programme is now delivered to 90 schools in Croydon and Bromley. Between Eliza and the LNK outreach team they have delivered the programme to over 10,000 students per school year since 2010.

After various training programmes through the Mentoring and Befriending Foundation Eliza and her co-workers have developed a successful mentoring training programme, which is delivered in partnership with South London YMCA and AFBE, supported by the Mayor’s Mentoring Programme.

Eliza has been supported en route by; 02,The Home Office, Local Government, Comic Relief, the Battlefront Campaign and the local community. LNK works with several partners to deliver specialised programmes with, the London Fire Brigade, Off the Record (The Croydon Counselling Service), RASASC (rape crisis) and Croydon Drop In.

LNK have worked with partners to deliver training to young mentors who have been upskilled in:

  • Conflict Resolution
  • Mentoring
  • Effective Listening skills
  • Working with Challenging Behaviour
  • Sexual Violence Prevention with Young People

Eliza was awarded the Croydon Community Champion 2008 and was asked to be an Ambassador for Croydon by Croydon Council. LNK have also been awarded the Phillip Lawrence Award and the Diana Award for Excellence in 2010.  She has also been both a vInspired regional award and the vInspired National Award for 2013.  Eliza is also studying her Level 3 in youth work, which she hopes to complete this month. This qualification will then be available to all the LNK mentors.

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