Anti-Violence Campaigner's Visit

28 Mar 2023
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Students at The Avon Valley School and Performing Arts College recently heard first-hand about the impact knife crime and violence can have when they were visited by a high profile campaigner.

Award winning campaigner, Alison Cope, spent the morning at Avon Valley School and delivered her anti-violence presentation to all students in Years 8 to 10. In her presentation Alison explained the dangers of being associated with gangs and how young people can portray themselves negatively on social media.

Later in the presentation Alison shared the tragic story of her son, Joshua Ribera, an aspiring and rising grime artist, who was tragically murdered in 2013. This brought home the reality of knife crime to the students listening in the audience.

Since her son’s death Alison has campaigned on social media and has spoken to hundreds of thousands of young people and parents in memory of Josh, also known through his music as Depzman. In addition Alison has also launched the Joshua Ribera Achievement Awards, recognising young people who are not in mainstream education.

Alison’s Cope’s visit to The Avon Valley School was made possible through a project with Aspire in Arts and was funded by Warwickshire Police and Crime Commissioner. Alison was joined by youth workers and music mentors from Aspire in Arts who worked with a number of students in break-out sessions, during these sessions the students were told about opportunities to be involved in positive activities locally.

Headteacher, Alison Davies, said: “We are very grateful to Alison for visiting our school and speaking to our students about how her son tragically lost his life. The assemblies were very emotional and at times difficult to listen to. However, this was a very important message for our students to hear. It’s clear the students took on board Alison’s message as many of them were talking about the assembly afterwards. We have also given students opportunity to discuss this further through a number of subsequent activities.”