Greater Manchester Violence Reduction Unit

Alison Cope is the mother of Joshua Ribera who was murdered in 2013. She now works tirelessly to help prevent youth violence by sharing her son’s unique life and death story to help educate young people on the realties and consequences of youth violence.

Her powerful presentations convey the importance of prevention, the emotive realisation of how choices affect loved ones and how young people retain hope for the future.

Greater Manchester Violence Reduction Unit commissioned Alison to deliver 33 sessions in 13 high schools across Greater Manchester in May, to reach over 1,500 children.

Each session provides an opportunity to find out what young people think about knife crime, offer reassurance, bring home the realities that picking up a knife will never resolve a situation, and empower young people to speak so support can be provided if needed.

A parent said: “Alison, you delivered an assembly to year 7 at my son’s school today. He came home and spoke to me about it, and it was immediately clear to me that it had a deep impact upon him.

“Whilst like all parents I would hope he wouldn’t consider being involved in knife crime, I know the prevalence of it means that frighteningly, no child is immune. However, I am certain that what you spoke to him about today will influence his choices as he gets older, I know that your messages will remain in his memory.

“I really believe that if it was ever to cross his mind to carry one, what you said to him will stop him. Thank you is just not enough, but thank you.”

A young person said: “You came into our school today and I had absolutely no idea that it was going to turn out like that, being honest I thought it would be another boring assembly telling us the dangers and to not carry a knife… but hearing your story from a first-hand account gave me chills.

“I hope you have many blessings coming your way, your message definitely stuck with so many people. Thank you for coming in today and teaching us such an important message.”

A school Principal said: “The staff and the children were deeply moved by Alison’s presentation – I have received nothing but positive feedback.

“One of my pupils has been through some recent trauma and for the first time, he is now speaking about it. He came into my office today to tell me about how he was feeling and to ask for advice – that is all due to the powerful message that Alison delivered.”

Each year Alison also hosts the Joshua Ribera Achievement Awards, to recognise and celebrate the achievements of young people who are not in mainstream education. The event esteems and reinforces the confidence in young people to continue making positive choices, despite challenges they may be facing personally.

Alison has now delivered her sessions to over 1.2 million people across the country over the past 10 years. She hopes that her work will help to reduce knife crime, change mindsets, and bring a consistent approach to the subject.

To find out more, visit Alison Cope| Anti-Violence Campaigner

Article posted on: 01/06/2023 10:06am

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