On Thursday 27 June, the sun shone from the sky above the prestigious National Justice Museum in Nottingham, the perfect setting for a momentous day. It was a day to mark the opening of The Ben Kinsella Trust’s second anti- knife crime exhibition in the UK, as well as Sopra Steria proudly announcing their strategic partnership with the charity, along with their joint ventures Shared Services Connected Ltd and NHS Shared Business Services.
Last weekend marked 11 years since Ben Kinsella was tragically murdered in a random and unprovoked knife attack following a night out with friends. Since then, Ben’s family have tirelessly devoted much of their lives to educating young people and the general public about the devastating consequences of knife crime, through their charity The Ben Kinsella Trust.
For many years, the charity’s work has centred around their London exhibition in Islington – an interactive workshop for children and young people, sharing Ben’s story whilst provoking thought on the consequences of carrying a knife. Thousands of young people have been impacted in this way by the charity’s powerful message.
The opening of the Nottingham exhibition
The launch of the charity’s second exhibition in Nottingham was therefore a significant leap forward in their mission. The exhibition is housed in the impressive National Justice Museum, a former court and jail house, dating back to the nineteenth century and in operation until the eighties.
Fittingly, The National Justice Museum have also been serving children and young people of the local community for many years, educating them on the criminal justice system while exploring urgent issues like knife and cyber crime.
An unforgettable day
The launch brought together all parts of the Nottingham community; the local council, police, youth and charity workers, and local business and education leaders. As well as Ben’s family, other families impacted by knife crime across Nottinghamshire were also present to support the launch.
The grand former court room was the setting for the opening of the afternoon’s proceedings where we heard from Home Office Minister for Crime, Safeguarding and Vulnerability Victoria Atkins; Ben’s sister Brooke Kinsella MBE and CEO of the Ben Kinsella Trust, Patrick Green. Also speaking at the launch was Police and Crime Commissioner, Paddy Tipping; CEO of the National Justice Museum, Victoria Reeves and Chairman of Nottingham Business Improvement District, Jeff Allen.
The rhetoric was clear – the knife crime epidemic can be counteracted with the proper education and support of young people, and cities like Nottingham will only thrive if there are clear strategies and commitment from the government, local authorities, the police, and other public services, working together with charities, businesses and local communities in the fight against knife crime.
The day concluded with a tour of the interactive exhibition in the former police station adjacent to the museum. The emotive and, in some places upsetting exhibition, takes its participants through a journey of Ben’s story while challenging assumptions about carrying a knife.
Immersive theatre is introduced at the final stage of the workshop – an A&E resuscitation room depicting the harrowing consequences of a knife attack followed by time spent in a jail cell with an ‘inmate’ convicted on joint enterprise following their involvement in a knife attack. The role play exercise puts the young people through their paces and reveals the stark realities of prison existence. Participants are left educated, reflective, challenged and inspired. Like the thousands of young people who have experienced this in the London exhibition, there are high hopes for the difference this new exhibition will too make to the young people of Nottingham.
Sopra Steria and The Ben Kinsella Trust partnership
The Sopra Steria team were honoured to be a part of the charity’s opening of their second exhibition and are extremely proud to be in partnership with the trust.
Through this unique model we will use our digital expertise and capabilities as well as our deep experience of working in the end to end justice sector, to help the trust digitally transform and scale their organisation, including implementing an innovative virtual reality experience for their exhibitions.
We are proud to be using ‘tech for good’ and making a fundamental difference to the future of The Ben Kinsella Trust.
Brendan Swarbrick, Executive Client Director, Home Office