PFCC, Stephen Mold, three members of staff from Basketball Northants, two members of staff and four students from Windmill Primary School stand behind a large Carry a Basketball, Not a Blade sign

A Northamptonshire campaign to encourage children to take up sport rather than knife crime has been awarded £6000 by Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner Stephen Mold.

Carry a Basketball, Not a Blade is run by Basketball Northants and uses sport and educational workshops to lead youngsters away from knife crime.

Andre Arissol holding a blue basketball speaking to a group of school children

The campaign sees a team led by professional basketball player Andre Arissol go into local schools to deliver both practical and classroom sessions.

The classroom-based sessions teach children about the misconceptions around knife crime when it comes to self-defence and personal protection.

Anna Letts delivering a classroom session

They applied for funding through the Police, Fire and Crime Commissioners Making Northamptonshire Safer Fund and found out that they were successful in January 2024.

The fund provides grants of between £3,000 and £10,000 for initiatives that support the aims of the Police and Crime Plan.

Anna Letts leading the school asssembly

The extra money they have received will allow them to further rollout their sessions to more schools across Northamptonshire.

Basketball Northants Chairman, Martin Spencer said: “We launched this campaign to provide children with the inspiration to lead a positive lifestyle by engaging with sporting activities.

“We hope that through our sessions they can develop the skills and knowledge to deal with antisocial and threatening situations.

“We are grateful to the Office of the Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner for their extra funding that can really help us grow this campaign and teach more young people about the dangers of knife crime.”

Andre Arissol leading the school assembly

The classroom-based elements of the campaign are led by Anna Letts who is an expert in providing workshops on crime prevention, mental wellbeing and tackling anti-social behaviour.

She said: “It can be challenging to address misconceptions and mindsets, but it’s useful to hear the youth voice and explore the reasons why young people may carry a weapon.

“We’ve had some very positive feedback so far from teachers and pupils alike and hopefully with this extra funding, we can continue to develop this campaign and take it further across the county.”

A PCSO, Martin Spencer from Basketball Northants and PFCC Stephen Mold at the front of a school assembly

Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner Stephen Mold said: “It is always great to see campaigns that focus on deterring children away from crime received funding via our Making Northamptonshire Safer Fund.

“The great work that Basketball Northants are doing across Northamptonshire is testament to the hard work of all of the people involved and it is really making a difference across local communities.”

For more information on how to apply for a grant via the Making Northamptonshire Safer Fund, please visit the Grant Schemes page here.