Film project in Salford commissioned to help raise awareness of knife crime

  • 11-16 year olds to produce film raising awareness of knife crime in Seedley and Langworthy
  • Great Places Housing Group commissioned £12,000 project with film company ReelMCR
  • Project expected to be complete by spring 2022

A Salford housing association is investing £12,000 to produce a short film documenting the impact of knife crime on young people.

The project is expected to run over 12 weeks with its direction and final content decided by the young people involved.

Lisa Newns, area services manager at Great Places Housing Group, proposed the idea after becoming inspired by the success of a previous project the company worked on.

“We produced a loan shark play with young people which they performed at Salford University,” she said.

“It really got the message across which I believe was made more powerful that it was done by young people, so I had the idea to do something similar with knife crime.

“It’s escalating everywhere, but particularly across Salford.” 

If it makes just one young person think twice about carrying a knife, then it’s done its job

Although Lisa’s primary role is to manage tenancy and anti-social behaviour among residents, Great Places provide her team with the opportunity to invest in projects making a difference in the community.

She said: “We are a housing provider, but our responsibility doesn’t just stop at the doorstep.

“We want to do anything we can to make the community and the neighbourhoods that our customers are living in thrive.”

The project, which will be directed by youngsters aged 11–16, has received backing from the local police.

“I did contact the police when I first had the idea as I wanted to be sure we are tackling the biggest issue in the community,” Lisa said.

“There’s a lot of funding going into this project, so it’s important we get it right and they did agree it was the best thing for us to cover.”

Lisa hopes to “leave a legacy raising awareness for years to come” by sharing the educational film with schools across the Salford region and beyond, but to also help inspire those involved.

She said: “We’ve got MediaCity on our doorstep and there are a lot of young people in Seedley and Langworthy specifically that are currently out of education and employment.

“If we can raise awareness of such an important topic but also help raise aspirations among the young people involved, they might discover a passion to pursue a career in the media industry and this will give them real experience to help do that.”

Great Places commissioned local film company ReelMCR, who specialise in community-based drama and social history documentaries, to produce the film.

Jacqui Carroll founded the company 20 years ago during a period of regeneration and has been working among hard-to-reach communities ever since.

She told the Northern Quota: “We had one of our workers involved in a stabbing – it’s a life ruined over one silly mistake made on one night.

“It’s such a terrible waste of many lives. It goes beyond just the person who has stabbed somebody and the person who has been stabbed.

“We want to show the impact this can have on the whole community.”

Although ReelMCR will provide the equipment and training to produce the film, its direction will be entirely down to the young people involved.

“We can’t possibly understand what goes on in their lives. They know what platforms they watch things on and what they would feel compelled to share. We are completely guided by them in this,” Jacqui said.

Filming will start this month and the a release date has been set for early next year.

Lisa said: “If it makes just one young person think twice about carrying a knife, then it’s done its job.”