Tackling Knife Crime in London with the Ben Kinsella Trust

The Ben Kinsella Trust tackles knife crime through education and campaigning. The charity was the recipient of one the 2023 Small Grants and here they tell us how they have used the money to help young people understand better about the dangers of carrying a weapon and how knife crime can be prevented in their communities. 

Set up following the tragic murder of young Ben Kinsella in 2008, their mission is to campaign against knife crime (facilitating everyone to recognise the role they can play in prevention) and to educate young people about the dangers of knife crime, helping them to make positive choices to stay safe.

The Ben Kinsella Trust runs knife crime prevention workshops for young people, directly from our award-winning exhibitions. Their workshops focus on the story of 16-year-old Ben Kinsella, who was stabbed to death over an incident that was nothing to do with him. By learning Ben’s story along with the facts that surround the topic of knife crime, young people better understand the impact and the consequences of knife carrying, and are better positioned to make positive, preventative choices to stay safe.

A small grant from The Haberdashers’ Benevolent Fund meant they were able to offer 6 x fully funded knife crime prevention workshops to schools in Lewisham and Hackney. With the addition of an unexpected and generous uplift in funds received from the Haberdashers’ Benevolent Foundation, the charity was able to increase this to seven x fully funded knife crime prevention workshops.


How they have spent the funds

The workshops are extremely high impact, but delivery costs are ever increasing, particularly amongst a backdrop of the cost-of-living crisis. The charity incurs costs for workshop materials, freelance workshop facilitators, freelance actors, and other management fees and overheads. Funds from the Haberdashers’ Benevolent Foundation were used to cover the delivery costs of seven knife crime prevention workshops, for pupils from three schools - Millfields School and Skinners Academy in Hackney and Twin Oaks School in Lewisham, benefiting 162 young people. Hackney and Lewisham are two boroughs in which there are either Haberdashers' schools or parishes and therefore these are geographical centre points for our charitable giving.

Impact of the funds

Many young people, particularly in urban areas, live in fear for their safety. ‘Protection’ is a therefore a key reason that some young people may choose to carry a knife.

Ben Kinsella’s workshops tackle these issues. Their spaces help young people to explore their emotions in relation to their fear and anxiety and help them to feel more confident to make choices to stay safe. 

Before the workshop 27% of young people thought that carrying a knife would protect them; whereas after the workshop this number had reduced to just 5%.

Haberdashers’ Benevolent Fund Small Grant, has ensured that money is no barrier to accessing the information they need to make the right decisions. As a result more young people - regardless of their socio-economic circumstances - were empowered with the knowledge and understanding of knife crime, and were better able to make positive choices to stay safe.

We understand and recognise the link between areas of poverty and areas of high knife crime, and look to act as a safety net for the young people in the communities in which we operate. 


If you're a charitiable organisation and are interested in applying for our Small Grants programme, you can find out more here.