Gamechanger and Cleveland Unit for the Reduction of Violence (CURV) Collaborate to Tackle Knife Crime in the Region.

Following our recent commission from Cleveland Unit for the Reduction of Violence (CURV) to deliver Gamechanger’s IMPACT Education Programme in Cleveland’s clear, hold, build area of Stockton-on-Tees, the team were delighted to take IMPACT ‘on tour’ to identified Primary and Secondary school settings across the Ropner Ward last month.  

During the week-long programme, the Gamechanger team were able to work with 345 children and young people aged between 10 and 12 to raise awareness of the risks associated with getting involved in serious and violent crime and to enable those young people to make informed choices.   

The team, headed up by Gamechanger’s Operations Director Greg Brookes-Clayton, thoroughly enjoyed their time in the region and were particularly impressed by the level of engagement and the exceptional attitude and behaviour of the children and young people at each school.  


The IMPACT sessions: 

The team began with our powerful drama piece, ‘Our Town’.  You could hear a pin drop as students watched events escalate.  After this gritty introduction to the workshop themes, the young people took part in a Making Meaning workshop. During the “hot-seating” activity, they asked the characters from the play insightful questions, knowing that the answers were authentic and came from lived experience. Lastly, the students enjoyed some Gamechanger Challenges – a range of physical group activities to develop resilience and promote the need for effective communication and trust.  Our skilled facilitators finished the session with valuable signposting of the relevant people and organisations available for support. 

Prior to the delivery week, Greg Brookes-Clayton met with Steve Turner, the Police and Crime Commissioner for Cleveland, in Middlesborough.  “He listened carefully as I explained our work to date and the positive impact we have made across the UK,” says Greg.  “He explained that child criminal exploitation (CCE) and knife crime were significant issues in Cleveland. He expressed concern about vulnerable children as young as 8 becoming involved in organised crime and being coerced into delivering drugs and carrying out other harmful activity. These children are at huge risk of becoming trapped in a life of crime, with obvious catastrophic impact for themselves, those around them, and society.” 

It is not difficult to appreciate why early intervention is essential.  The multiple elements of a Gamechanger programme are designed to raise awareness and inform young people about social issues, but to also provide those young people with the essential life skills and an understanding of necessary collaborative approaches that help them to foster emotional resilience.  After this unique work, we find the young people have the capacity and confidence to speak up and act against any concerns they may have for themselves and their peers at school, or in the wider community. 


Here are some of the positive outcomes from our student survey following the IMPACT sessions in Stockton-on-Tees: 

  • 94% of students said they were helped to have a “good or ok” understanding of the issues around knife crime.
  • At least 92% of students demonstrated excellent comprehension on the laws surrounding knife possession (compared with pre-session awareness of less than 15%).
  • 68% of students were very confident they and their peers would make strong choices against knife crime in the future.
  • 51% of students thought they would be confident to speak up if they saw a friend involved in knife crime or CCE, with a further 43% thinking they would probably speak


Some of the teachers kindly reached out to us with the following praise: 

“The sessions were thoroughly engaging and thought provoking for all. Very important messages for our pupils. The most powerful session we’ve had in school.” 

“The drama had a huge impact on both staff and pupils. It was very powerful in getting across a serious message. The sessions were delivered sensitively ensuring pupils’ emotions were taken into consideration at all times. This will certainly arm our young people with essential knowledge and understanding regarding exploitation and knife crime, early intervention is key!!” 


And what about the young people themselves?  Here are some comments from participants across the week, taken from our feedback questionnaires:  

“I enjoyed the Our Town drama as it helped me to be more aware and showed signs of when someone was part of a gang and might have a knife.” 

“I feel very inspired to stop knife crime.” 

“Gamechanger has taught me valuable lessons for later in life. I would like to thank the actors for immersing me into a different dimension and explaining things clearly.” 

“I enjoyed learning about knife crime and that if you carry a knife you are twice as likely to get seriously injured yourself.” 

“I thought it helped me understand more about exploitation and serious violence. I liked the part where we could ask the characters questions.” 

“I loved the performance it was so real, I was a bit shocked about the knife but I will be more aware and I’ll be able to know what is happening and how to deal with a situation like this.” 

“I really enjoyed the sessions it was good fun and I feel it made me more resilient, confident and even more caring.” 


We would like to thank the students of Mill Lane Primary School for featuring in the photos accompanying this blog.  And sincere thanks to all the teachers and staff who lent their energy and enthusiasm to make the week such a success.  We are especially grateful to CURV and the Police and Crime Commissioner for Cleveland for their financial support; our collaboration has helped to improve the outcomes of some of the young people most susceptible to knife crime in Stockton-on-Tees. The whole experience was hugely positive, and the feedback demonstrates the effect the IMPACT programme has had. 

Quite simply, intervention at this age could save lives, and we continue in our quest to address knife crime, serious violence, CCE and other issues affecting young people in the UK today. 

Our IMPACT sessions are available now, for delivery in educational and youth settings across the UK.  If you want to find out more, please get in touch with us through the link below to book a demo call. 


Meet Gamechanger’s Partnerships and Business Development Executive, Juliet Chappell.

Juliet is a trained facilitator with over 10 years of experience in Theatre in Education (actor, writer workshop leader and director). She has a BA Hons in Modern History from the University of Oxford and a BA Hons in Acting from the Academy of Live and Recorded Arts. She is a qualified TEFL teacher and spent many years working across mainland Europe with a number of English language theatre companies and education providers. Juliet has also worked within the UK as an actor on stage and screen.

Juliet joined Gamechanger at the start of 2024, in a change of role from her career in the NHS. She is looking forward to focusing on business development and partnerships, with the hope of expanding the national provision of Gamechanger’s Impact and Intervention products. She is excited to see the portfolio evolve and is proud to be involved in the company’s mission to reach many vulnerable young people at risk of Child Criminal Exploitation and other major social issues.

Away from work, Juliet enjoys exploring the coast and moorland of her home county of Devon. Aside from hiking and sea swimming, she is interested in travelling, languages, theatre, current affairs and food (cooking and eating!)

Meet Gamechanger’s strategy and financial planning expert Richard Adam.

Richard’s role is to provide financial oversight and strategic support for Gamechanger. 

Richard is a qualified accountant and experienced Director with a background in manufacturing and digital businesses, including shared immersive spaces for education and simulated training environments. Richard is supporting the team with financial and strategic enterprise planning, providing a robust framework and development pathway underpinning the consistent and highest standards of service delivery and client satisfaction now and in the future.