/ 13 January 2019

In July 2018, the Evening Standard reported that, in the last 3 years, 1,423 children aged 10 -12  had been arrested in London, and nearly 300 of which were carrying a weapon. Those who get involved in this behaviour are usually the most ignored and vulnerable.

The Lives Not Knives campaign raises awareness about knife violence. It was started in 2007 by Eliza Rebeiro, from Croydon, after having witnessed the problems caused by the issue. Eliza wanted to make a change, and today helps over 10,000 children yearly, in over 150 schools. Lives not Knives believes that prevention is better than a cure, and focuses on engaging those most at risk. Their early intervention programme is successful and the charity aims to get young people into further education, employment and apprenticeships.

Ruth and Eamonn met with inspirational Eliza, who was removed from school at the age of 13 for bad behaviour, and told by a teacher that she would never achieve anything. She was determined to prove that she would be a success. A year after, two of Eliza’s friends were stabbed. She decided to found the campaign which began with a t-shirt she had printed with the slogan LIVES NOT KNIVES. People began to ask if they could buy the t-shirt, and awareness spread.

By February 2008, Eliza ran an event to celebrate youth in her area, furthering campaign funds from ticket sales. Eliza also spoke to local schools, working with Year 7s, 8s and 9s to educate about the dangerous effects that youth crime could have on them on their families, warning against gang involvement. In 2008, Eliza organised the ‘Speak Up and Stand Tall’ event with Safer Croydon.

These days, Eliza runs the charity out of the Centrale Shopping Centre in Croydon. Her charity receives no government funding, and donations come from the public and the Childhood Trust. Their main programme is called Link Aspire, which directly helps 45 young people across Croydon and Lambeth. Those mentored on the programme have been passed on by the Pupil Referral Unit, having been excluded from school for various reasons.

To find out more about Knives Not Lives, visit:

If you’d like to get in contact with, visit

If you’d like to get in contact with You & Co, visit

If you’d like to get in contact Your Choice, Your Future, visit

If you’d like to get in contact with The Ben Kinsella Trust, visit

If you’d like to get in contact with Victim Support, visit