STOURBRIDGE RUGBY CLUB AND OPENING BOUNDARIES
LAUNCH "I SUPPORT - TACKLING KNIFE CRIME" INITIATIVE
Working in partnership, Opening Boundaries and Stourbridge Rugby Club will be using the power of sport and in particular rugby, to organise a community charity event on the 6th May 2018.
Teaming up with West Midlands Police who have given their backing to the campaign, the aim of the day will be to raise awareness of the increase in knife crime and how we can combat this issue using sport a positive diversionary.
The campaign named “I support Tackling Knife Crime” was launched on the 12th November to coincide with the club hosting the 2019 Japan Rugby World Cup tour and the clubs first game played on its new all-purpose 3G pitch.
Stourbridge Rugby Club caters for all ages and abilities including juniors, adults
and women. The club is keen to provide a positive outlet for people to come and take part in organised sports programmes which have been proven to contribute towards reducing crime, finding positive identity and the feeling of community empowerment, leadership and teamwork.
Pictured with Halima Khan, founder of Opening Boundaries and Gemma Hooley from Birmingham Childerns Hospital, Robin Edwards, Chairman at Stourbridge Rugby said,
“The devastating effect of the increase in knife crime is being felt across UK society and locally we have felt the terrible sadness of lives being lost through this dreadful evil. To combat this unwelcomed and unacceptable behaviour we believe it is vital for our community to come together in support of organisations that can tackle this problem and collectively we aim to raise funds from rugby to invest in a safer future for us all.
Working with the charity Opening Boundaries and West Midlands Police we are organising a charity rugby competition to be held at the end of our season and we will donate all proceeds to Birmingham Childrens Hospital.
We will encourage our players, sponsors, supporters and friends to participate and show their support for this initiative. We hope to engage with our local neighbouring rugby clubs who have a similar objective, lets tackle knife crime!”
“As a local resident of Norton in Stourbridge, and someone who has been unfortunate enough to witness the upsetting news of a double murder in my area earlier this year, I am keen to demonstrate what we as a community can achieve when we come together using the power of sport which in turn helps to drive social change and allows us to live in a safer and more inclusive society.
We hope the day will raise money for a good cause whilst bringing people from the community together to say ‘No’ to any form of violence. We want to use sport as a positive diversionary which can engage with people of all races, genders and classes”.
Statistics provided by West Midlands Police show instances of knife crime seen, used or threatened has jumped from 1554 in 2014-2015 to 2391 in 2016-2017. That is a worrying increase of 35%.
Sadly the numbers for knife homicide have jumped from 9 to 17 in the same time frame, almost doubled.
Farah Ahmed, Project Manager for Opening Boundaries pictured below with Stourbridge MP Margot James who has also pledged her support to the campaign went on to say,
Detective Superintendent Ian Parnell of West Midlands Police has said, "Across the West Midlands there has been a recent increase in knife crime, ranging from possession offences at one end to murder at the other.”
“We acknowledge that knives are too often the weapon of choice, but we are working really hard with retailers, schools and partners to remove knives from the streets of the West Midlands.
We’re ensuring those who do carry a knife are robustly dealt with through the criminal justice system. There is now better reporting of knife crime from schools, and more efforts from police to understand why young people feel the need to carry bladed weapons.
I am supportive of any community led initiative that seeks to prevent knife crime and the terrible impact it has on families and communities. The work of Opening Boundaries and Stourbridge Rugby Club is key in offering diversionary activities for young people to focus on.”
There is now an open invitation for individuals and teams to register their interest to take part on the day. Teams will play a series of round robin games under the RFU Rugby10s format and there will also be an option of Touch Rugby. We are encouraging both males and females to take part as well as juniors and adults.
Opening Boundaries will work with Stourbridge RFC and RFU to ensure the tournament is fully inclusive and would like to place an emphasis on diversity in sport.
The fundraiser will also consist of activities for the whole family and an opportunity to talk to Birmingham Children’s Hospital and the West Midlands Police, both of whom will be represented at the event.
Miranda Williams, Public Fundraising Manager at Birmingham Children’s Hospital Charity, commented, “We are incredibly grateful to Opening Boundaries and Stourbridge Rugby Club for raising money for Birmingham Children’s Hospital Charity. The money they raise will make a huge difference to the lives of our brave children and their families, enabling us to do more for the sick kids in our care.”
The organisers are now taking expressions of interest from people wanting to take part on the day , as teams or as individuals, and would like to urge everyone to get behind this initiative.
For more information on the event or to register your interest please contact, , by the 31st January 2018.
Peter Wheeler CBE DL (Middle) former England international rugby union player with President and Chairman of Stourbridge Rugby Club showcasing his support.
Ian Bletcher from the RFU development team who will be supporting the days events.
Linda Hingley, Conservative Councillor for South Staffordshire.