When Sarah Lloyd talks about the impact of knife crime on ordinary families’ lives, she does so with authority.
Not because she works for the police or council, but because her own son was killed in a knife attack in Leeds.
Kieran Butterworth was 17 when he was murdered in Harehills in 2013 and it is the lasting impact that this had on his family which forms the basis of talks given by Sarah to young people across the city.
Her message is simple – put down your knives.
“I lost my son to knife crime. I know the impact it’s had on my family,” she said.
“I don’t go in preaching about statistics, I just tell them how it is. Everybody’s got a mum and brothers and sisters. They can kind of relate to it.”
With her focus on educating young people about the dangers of carrying knives, Sarah was naturally keen to support the Leeds Lives Not Knives events held in Harehills on Saturday.
She spent the afternoon talking to those who called in at the Compton Centre, before heading on to the Ark to deliver a presentation to teenagers on the issue.
“My family still lives round here and I’d like to think these streets are safe for them, but I know they’re not,” she said.
“My grandchildren are growing up in this area. I want to make a difference for their generation if nothing else.”
Sarah firmly believes that people from within communities can make a valuable contribution to the fight against knife crime.
She said: “A lot of people in deprived areas are wary of the police, they have cultural issues with them. I think young people listen more to someone whose been affected by it personally. It’s real, it’s honest, they can relate to it.
“We’ll never know how many I’ve impacted upon but wherever I’m going in to schools, I’m doing something.”