Changing attitudes towards criminal behavior

In March 2018, three school pupils were stabbed outside St Edmund Campion School in Erdington. Five weeks later, in partnership with Chance to Shine, ex-offender Tanayah Sam was in the classroom working with pupils aged 12- 16 at risk of exclusion from the school or who have been in trouble with the police before.

Tanayah delivered a session telling the pupils about Joint Enterprise (a legal doctrine that means all members of a group of two or more could be convicted for the criminal actions of one of them) as part of a programme that aims to change pupils’ perceptions on gang and knife crime. During a 12-week programme, Tanayah shares his experience of being in a gang and helps young people set positive goals for their future.

Aged 14, Tanayah was expelled from school and put into a youth detention centre for stabbing a peer with a screwdriver. Now, he runs TSA Sports and Education, delivering lessons to young people the same age as he was then and the message is getting through to them. “You shouldn’t even carry a weapon ‘cos then you’ll feel you need to use it” one pupil says, “Even if you aren’t the one who stabs someone, you can end up in prison as well” adds another.

Having completed the workshop, the pupils head out to the playground for a cricket session with Eaton, Chance to Shine Street coach, and Ray, who works with Tanayah and is a trained counsellor. The children play Street cricket, a 20-ball per innings format of the sport that uses a tennis ball wrapped in electrical tape.

The cricket is a way for the children to let off some steam and smash a ball around. One pupil from the Year 8 class had never tried the sport before, “I used to think cricket was really boring but now I’ve had a chance to play it, I really like it! I used to get into trouble a lot but I’m not anymore, cricket really helped me.”


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