Newcastle United and Sunderland join forces to tackle knife crime ahead of FA Cup derby

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Newcastle United and Sunderland AFC have joined forces ahead of their FA Cup derby.

Newcastle United Foundation and Sunderland AFC's Foundation of Light have joined forces to promote a regional campaign to tackle knife crime.

Knives Impact Everyone was launched by Police and Crime Commissioner Kim McGuinness along with local families who have lost loved ones to violence.

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Kim McGuinness.Kim McGuinness.
Kim McGuinness.

Both clubs and their registered charities will be championing the campaign across their social media channels, whilst hard-hitting message are also set to feature on digital advertising stands in the Stadium of Light during the upcoming FA Cup derby match.

Shola Ameobi, former player and Newcastle United Foundation trustee, 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.”

Ameobi spent 19 years at St. James’ Park, making almost 400 appearances for the club. The Nigerian also scored Newcastle’s only goal in the semi-final.Ameobi spent 19 years at St. James’ Park, making almost 400 appearances for the club. The Nigerian also scored Newcastle’s only goal in the semi-final.
Ameobi spent 19 years at St. James’ Park, making almost 400 appearances for the club. The Nigerian also scored Newcastle’s only goal in the semi-final. | Getty Images

The Knives Impact Everyone campaign was launched in 2023 to highlight the devastating consequences carrying a knife can have, as well as sign-posting people to support and advice.

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 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.

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.”

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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.  

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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.

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