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Schools partnership shortlisted for award

Schools partnership shortlisted for award

10th October 2013

A trail blazing partnership between St John Ambulance and Release the Peace, supported by Youth United Foundation, has made the shortlist of this year’s Children and Young People Now awards.

Thanks to the partnership, between January and July this year nearly 2,000 pupils in 26 East London schools learned essential life saving skills and were confronted with the terrible consequences of youth violence.

The partnership involves members of the nation’s leading first aid charity working alongside the parents of two teenagers murdered in senseless acts of violence.

After hearing harrowing first-hand accounts of how street violence destroys lives, school children as young as 10 are eager to learn the basic first aid skills needed to deal with a life or death emergency.

At the heart of the Release the Peace campaign are Margaret Mizen and Grace Idowu, who both lost their sons Jimmy Mizen and David Idowu to violent crime in 2008. Jimmy was murdered a day after his 16th birthday and 14-year-old David died after being stabbed while he was playing football in a park near his home.

Margaret and Grace are taking it in turns to visit local schools to talk about the unimaginable suffering caused by youth violence. Having visited convicted murderers’ in jail, the bereaved parents tell their young audiences how the devastating effects of violence are a lifelong legacy…for perpetrators as well as their victims’ families.

After their hard-hitting talks, young St John Ambulance peer educators encourage the youngsters to shun violence in favour of learning the basic first aid skills needed to save a life.  In a series of fun, lively first aid sessions with plenty of hands on practice, pupils learn techniques such as putting an unconscious person in the recovery position and treating severe bleeding.

The training ends with an invitation to get involved with some of the wide range of life changing adventures and activities offered by the Youth United Network - a coalition of the UK's largest and most established voluntary youth organisations, including St John Ambulance.

The scheme has been shortlisted for Children and Young People Now’s ‘Partnership Working’ award, which attracted nominations from all over the UK.  The awards, now in their eighth year, recognise and reward excellent practice in supporting children, young people and families to lead happy, healthy and successful lives.

Release the Peace is partnering with the St John Ambulance RISE* project which has been transforming the lives of disadvantaged youngsters in Tower Hamlets, Hackney, Haringey, Newham and Waltham Forest since its launch in 2009.

RISE project manager Caroline Buckley says: ‘We’re delighted the partnership has been shortlisted for an award as this recognises the value of working with children at an early age to steer them away from youth crime and onto a more productive path in life.

‘Of course we hope they never have to deal with a life or death emergency, but if that happens they’ll have the skills and confidence to know what to do.’