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  • Writer's pictureLucy Atherton

Knife Crime Campaign Winners

A school in Taunton has been named winner of an animation competition run by Avon and Somerset Police to engage young people in the issue of knife crime. The Taunton Academy, which was one of several schools which took part in the initiative, received the most views of its short animation on YouTube.

The school is planning to use the prize money to fund a new community spirit award for students.

The animation was created by two Year 10 pupils, Bertie and Dexter, and is called an Eye for and Eye. It explores the choice as whether or not to carry a knife and the importance of making positive decisions. Instead of picking up a knife to retaliate against bullying, the character in the film chooses to focus on his passion for drumming. It ends with the message ‘live to your positive beat’.

Emma Smith, Head of Year 10 at The Taunton Academy, said: “We’re absolutely thrilled to have won the competition but most of all we are delighted to have had the chance to be involved in the project. It’s been an extremely positive experience, not just for the students that created the animation but for the rest of the school as well. The workshops that they’ve been involved in and the wider discussions we’ve been able to have as a result have definitely made it easier for students to come to talk to us about these issues, and to ask for advice.

“The film that the winning team created was extremely impressive and I know they enjoyed working with the students from UWE to produce it. We’re so proud of the hard work and commitment they’ve shown throughout the project.”

Avon and Somerset Police PCSO Georgia Coles, who works closely with the school and has been involved with the project from the start, said: “The young people at The Taunton Academy have done an amazing job. They’ve approached the project with great maturity and as a result have created a brilliant animation with an extremely important message about knife crime.

“We’ve been delighted with how involved and engaged all the young people that took part in the project have been. It’s been a positive experience for us as well, offering a valuable opportunity to engage with young people about the issue of knife crime in a creative way. All the films will also play an important part of our ongoing work with young people.”

Avon and Somerset Police has been working with the young people involved in the animation competition for the past 12 months. It was part of an initiative to better understand why they might carry knives, what support they need from the police and the issues they face in their daily lives which can lead to them becoming involved in knife crime and violence.

It has supported them to turn those ideas into short animated films, working alongside student animators at UWE Bristol in the creative process. The films formed part of a wider advertising campaign which featured in Taunton, Weston-super-Mare and Bristol over the past six weeks. The students’ work was used on buses, billboards and bus shelters. The themes were also discussed in the local media.

During the creative process the young people spent time in workshops with their peers discussing the issues, before coming up with a film concept. The winning teams then spent time developing their ideas with the team of student animators at UWE Bristol, who then brought the ideas to life on screen. Animation studio Aardman Productions also gave its support to the project, inviting the young people to attend a special day at its Bristol site, where they learned more how to create a successful animation. Aardman also provided professional guidance and support to the young people as their films developed.

Winners Bertie and Dexter were interviewed by the BBC, Heart and Apple FM. See more here:

The film, and others from the campaign can be viewed here:


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