Source: Caritas Westminster
A new knife amnesty bin has been installed at St Mary & St Michael Roman Catholic Church in Tower Hamlets, and was blessed by Bishop Nicholas Hudson on Wednesday 9 February.
This is the fifth knife bin installed by the partnership between Caritas Westminster and Word4Weapons, in parts of London which are known to have an issue with knife crime and gang related violence. These amnesty bins have been placed on church premises, for anyone carrying a weapon to deposit it safely away from any harm to others and themselves.
Minet Masho, Development Worker for Caritas Westminster said: “Violence and killing destroys the lives of those involved: victims and perpetrators and their families and communities. The knife bins are not aesthetically glorious to see, but they are there to highlight the issue of criminal activities and their presence might give reassurance to people that knives are not hidden and found in parks, houses’ front gardens or in a young person’s bedroom.”
The blessing of the knife bin was attended by the Mayor of Tower Hamlets, John Biggs, different faith leaders, representatives from the police, Caritas Westminster, Word4Weapons and staff and students from the nearby Bishop Challoner school, as well as members of the local community.
Raymond, head boy at Bishop Challoner Catholic secondary school, said: “The blessings of the knife bin showed me the beauty that occurs when a community comes together from all backgrounds to solve such a significant problem that is violence against all people, to protect ourselves and the potential victims”.
Fr Willie Skehan the Parish Priest at the church, which is in the Commercial Road area of Tower Hamlets, gave an example of how the knife bin might be used: “If granny is cleaning her grandson’s bedroom today and finds something in the bedroom and she doesn’t know what to do with it, now we can let her know that she can put into the bin.” Acknowledging that a knife bin is just one part of the work happening in the community to prevent violence, he went on to say “just like in a bow of a violinist, there are many threads in the bow, we are just one of those threads.”
Bishop Nicholas Hudson said: ‘It will soon be Lent. And when we think of Lent, we think of the powerful words of the Lord spoken through the prophet Joel, “Come back to me with all your heart.” A knife bin announces the same call, to have a change of heart. The knife bin standing here now on Commercial Road announces peace. “Be peacemakers, not peace-breakers,” it cries out to everyone that passes it.”
Caritas Westminster – www.caritaswestminster.org.uk/
Word4Weapons – www.word4weapons.co.uk/