Greater Manchester Violence Reduction Unit

Funded by the Violence Reduction Unit (VRU), the murals are a physical display of young people’s commitment to being greater than violence, as part of the I am greater campaign. Launched in 2021 and led by young people, the campaign encourages young people to be greater than violence by thinking about what’s important to them in life – their values – and when this will be important to them in their future – their aspirations.

The campaign also teaches young people how violence can escalate and encourages them to be an active bystander by intervening safely when violent language is used among their peer group. Young people are encouraged to take one of three actions; be direct – ask their friend to stop, distract – encourage their friend to leave the situation, or ask for help from another friend, teacher, youth worker or appropriate person.

A series of workshops were held with young people to inform them about the campaign and consider their own reasons for being greater, they were also taught how to use paints and stencils and had the opportunity to contribute to the mural design by adding their reasons for being greater to make their own personal commitment and inspire other young people.

The VRU teamed up with street artist Oskar with a K, a muralist and artist based in Manchester, to design and paint the murals.

Deputy Mayor for Policing, Crime and Fire, Bev Hughes, said: “The I am greater campaign is the Violence Reduction Unit’s flagship campaign for young people. Young people have shared their stories in a series of powerful videos, including individuals who have personally experienced the impact of serious violence. To date, the campaign has achieved over 11 million impressions.

“The campaign also includes resources for schools and youth groups, and videos for parents.

“The murals are a fantastic display of young people’s commitment to being greater than violence and serve as a reminder of the bright future young people in Greater Manchester can go on to achieve.”

Andrea Hulton, Youth Worker, Bury Integrated Youth Support Service, said: “The I am Greater campaign was a fantastic piece of work for the young people of East Bury to be part of. The Violence Reduction Unit team delivered creative and enlightening sessions to the young people in a really engaging way. The young people were able to learn how their positive choices can have a great impact on their lives and those around them.

“They loved creating the street art mural to promote this message to their peers and members of the general public. The group members enjoyed the experience so much it led to developing a wider youth project around building more positive relationships with all staff working in emergency services too. They have met Police Chief inspectors, spoken to schools engagement officers, visited the fire training centre and Police stations, and are currently undertaking street first aid sessions. All the young people have nothing but great things to say about the whole experience!”

Tameside Council’s Deputy Executive Leader Councillor Bill Fairfoull, who has responsibility for Children and Families, said: “Tameside is committed to doing all we can to prevent violence and support our young people in making the right choices.

“This is an inspiring campaign and I’m proud that Tameside is part of it with this magnificent mural at Hyde Youth Centre. It’s a great way of communicating a very important message to young people and I’d like to thank everyone involved for their hard work.”

Councillor Barbara Bentham, lead member for environment, neighbourhoods and community safety in Salford, said: “The young people and team who created this artwork should be very proud of their work. These stunning murals are a powerful reminder to everyone that a violent reaction in the heat of the moment can ruin lives. Don’t put yourself at risk – you are greater.”

Oskar with a K, muralist and artist, said: “Watching the response from the young people as the murals took form was incredible. I remember one young person exclaiming ‘I cannot believe I made this!’ and dancing on the spot, you just can’t beat moments like that really.

“Working with the Violence Reduction Unit and wider team was great fun, and I’m really proud of what we have all achieved.”

Watch the short video to see how the murals were created and hear from those involved in the project – ‘I am greater’ campaign murals – YouTube.

To find out more about the campaign, visit Home – I Am Greater.

Article posted on: 28/11/2022 11:11am

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