Lives Not Knives Croydon

Visit to Lives Not Knives in Croydon

Charity and engaging with the community.

Visit to Lives Not Knives

I discussed with my own lodge how we could take up the challenge to engage with local charities.

Two charities were identified both of which I have been to visit to get an understanding of not just what a donation would do to help, but to gain an insight into how they work, what they look to achieve, and more so, to create a connection between the lodge and the charities.

Of the two charities I visited, one in particular I was very intrigued about. That charity is Lives Not Knives which is based in central Croydon.

On Thursday 21st November 2019 I had arranged with the Charity Founder to make my first visit. I went along with an open mind. Having read information from their website beforehand I knew this was a sensitive subject.

I was welcomed by Eliza and Karen who I might add have the most amazing smiles.

Everyone who works at Lives Not Knives has, in some way, been affected by knife crime. Sadly, even to the point where they know someone who has been murdered.

There was no shortage of discussion. I only planned to be there for around 30 mins but 1 hour later I had learned a lot more. To be honest, I was in awe of the work they do.

Lives Not Knives is a support charity for kids and families affected by knife crime. It’s like a walk-in centre that anyone one can go to for advice, counselling, comfort, support and referrals to other outside organizations.

They are very proactive – often giving talks in schools reaching out to a young audience on the dangers of getting involved in such activities. They also do roadshows and attend local fetes and events to spread the word about the charity and their work.

During our discussion I was able to drill a bit deeper into their work. Any misconception that that this is just gang related would be wrong.

We talked about how kids get groomed into this culture and how people are affected. They find that it is not just one stereotype that gets involved in knives but a wider community from 11 to 60 from all types of backgrounds. Admittedly, those from deprived areas who feel they have no social aspirations, or a way out can get caught up in that lifestyle.

That one hour was invaluable to me. I can see why the Province wants us to engage with our chosen charities. For me, it was one of the most rewarding things I have ever done during my Masonic career. I would urge every lodge to do the same.

I came away from Lives Not Knives in total admiration of the work they do. If any lodge in Croydon is looking for a local charity to support, I would urge them to consider this one.

Between us and them I truly believe we could help to make a difference. Even if they only got through to a few kids that is a life saved.

I will be visiting them again in early January for an update and again later that same month to present them with a sizable cheque to kickstart their New Year.

I am also hoping to arrange for Eliza and Karen to come to a Past Master Lodge to do a presentation so that Freemasons from across the Province can witness for themselves the tremendous work that they do.

I will keep you posted with updates from Lives Not Knives as I get it.

You can visit their website at https://livesnotknives.org for more information or to make a donation.

Dean Stewart

Charity Steward

Purley Lodge 3136






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