Luton Town Football Club have become the latest supporters of a major new anti-knife crime campaign for Bedfordshire.
The Premier League side have organised a series of activities to show their support for the Just Drop It campaign led by the Bedfordshire Violence and Exploitation Reduction Unit (VERU).
First team players Andros Townsend, Jacob Brown and Alfie Doughty have shown their support with campaign merchandise in support of Just Drop It.
Last week players in the club’s academy also received a talk from Roseann Taylor, whose story is the centrepiece of the campaign.
The main campaign video tells the story of Azaan ‘AJ’ Kaleem, who was stabbed to death in Luton in 2018. His mum Roseann now works for the VERU’s Youth Intervention Specialist team.
Roseann was on hand to meet the players and answer questions from the academy players.
Luton Town chairman David Wilkinson said: “We are proud to support the VERU Just Drop It initiative to increase awareness of the widespread and unseen results of knife crime.
“It is not just the victims, but their family, friends, and local community along with everyone associated with the protagonists, who are affected by these terrible events.
“It seems that this is largely a generational issue, and we believe this initiative can help to draw the attention of the wider public to the problem and highlight that there are no winners. It is so sad to see the damage done to the lives of all those involved so all attempts to educate, support and protect should be encouraged.”
Luton Town are among dozens of public services, education settings, charities and other organisations pledging their support to the Just Drop It campaign.
Roseann said: “I have been blown away by the positive reception the Just Drop It campaign has had so far, as well as the enthusiasm and support it has had from people like Luton Town.
“Having the backing of a Premier League football club gives the campaign a whole different dimension and I cannot thank the club enough for their wholehearted support for what we are trying to achieve.
“I am determined to use AJ’s legacy as a force for good and with the support of all those who have got behind the campaign so far I am sure we can achieve this.”
Short clips from the film were shown on an advertising van which toured the county yesterday (Tuesday), while it has already been shown in schools and colleges across the county.
The film, produced by TMG Creative, is to be premiered in a special screening at Youthscape in Luton tonight (Wednesday) at 7pm.
Further screenings are set to take place across the county over the coming weeks.
A Facebook Live webinar is being held tomorrow evening (Thursday) as well, where people will be able to watch the film and ask questions of Roseann as well as other professionals who work with young people.
For more information about the campaign visit the Just Drop It section of our website.