Two of the region’s biggest football clubs have put aside their differences on the pitch to back a campaign tackling knife crime.

The Newcastle United Foundation and Sunderland AFC’s Foundation of Light have joined forces days before their sides’ FA Cup clash to promote ending knife violence.

Hard-hitting messages will show on ad boards during the tie at the Stadium of Light on Saturday and on the clubs’ social media pages.

Graphics of emotional undelivered text messages aim to show the heart-breaking reality of knife crime along with the words: “Knife crime cuts deep.

“Whether you’re carrying or you’re a victim of knife crime, the consequences impact everyone; family, friends, emergency services and communities.”

NUFC and SAFC and their foundation charities are backing the Knives Impact Everyone campaign, launched by Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner Kim McGuinness.

As part of this work, Northumbria Police fund projects at both clubs’ foundations with the YOLO initiative aimed at steering young people away from knife crime

Backing the campaign, former Sunderland AFC striker Kevin Phillips said: “Whatever your background, whatever your club, we have to unite on this so young people walk away from violence.

The Northern Echo: Kevin Phillips.Kevin Phillips.

“We need to get in front of kids about the dangers and consequences of knives and we are supporting this campaign to do just that."

Newcastle United Foundation Trustee and former player, Shola Ameobi, added: “Football is so powerful in this part of the world, and it means so much to people of all ages.

The Northern Echo: Shola Ameobi.Shola Ameobi.

“Football can influence behaviour in young people and inspire them in so many different ways. I’ve seen first-hand for years the work that Newcastle United Foundation does in the community to make positive changes to the lives of those who need guidance and support.

“The power of the Newcastle United badge is really special to making a positive difference.”

Through the popular 20-week YOLO programme delivered in both Foundations, young people are provided with a mentor and the chance to take part in one-to-one sessions, and engage in activities such as sport, music, art, social action projects, as well as tailored interventions to support them in making positive behaviour change and address their needs.

It comes as The Northern Echo is also campaigning to end the scourge of knife crime.


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The Echo’s Knife Crime Taskforce, also supported by PCC Kim McGuinness, aims to address the root causes of children carrying knives with preventative measures and effective intervention strategies to make North East communities a safer place to grow up.

It comes after a shocking spate of deaths of teenagers across the region in senseless stabbings.

Kim McGuinness said: “Our football clubs are at the heart of so much that is good about the North East, and it is great to see them setting aside rivalry off the pitch to come together and stand up to knife crime. We’re all proud of region, and this is a strong message that we, the clubs, the fans, the families, are determined to keep it a great place to live.”