Deji is dead.
He was stabbed.
I don't understand.

"Deji is dead. He was stabbed.
I don't understand. Why?"

Chilling words from the mother of a former LifeLine School student, killed in the middle of the day, in broad daylight, on a residential street in south London. He will never have the opportunity to fulfil the dreams he had discussed with his mentor when he left LifeLine school with a 100% attendance record in 2012.

All sorts of questions fill our minds: ‘How on earth are his family coping with this dreadful news? What went wrong? What can we do to prevent this happening to other students?’

Detectives believe Ayodeji was attacked by four or five people. A postmortem showed he died from multiple stab wounds.

Deji, from Dagenham, was one of five victims of knife crime killed in the capital over a six day period at the beginning of November this year.

He was also the fifth young person from Barking and Dagenham to die this year.

We are committed to providing young people with activities that give them an alternative to being on the road, that give them a safe place to be. At the same time our mentoring will help them see the choice they have.

We believe young people always have a choice and do not have to be victims under their circumstances but can be victors over them.
Nathan Singleton
CEO, LifeLine Projects

Our message is one of prevention. While we mourn Deji, we are determined to work with others to turn the tide of escalating violence – focusing on prevention by working with young people, their families and schools to release young people to become agents of change in their communities.

Our vision is that all young people should leave school with renewed hope, developed confidence and improved skills: with a sense of vision, identity and purpose for their future.

Our pledge is to work with the families of Barking and Dagenham
to save our young people from knife crime.

I urge you - as those on the front line - to be aware; to become familiar with the referral routes available for students who you fear may become involved in knife crime or gangs and be quick to make those referrals.
Councillor Darren Rodwell
Leader, Barking and Dagenham Council
Teachers see young people more than many other professionals. During this time we build strong relationships. It is key that we take time to understand the risks that may threaten our student and believe that the conversation we have with a student, and the referral we make, could save their life. This is where LifeLine's mentoring really helps.
Amy Howe
Deputy Headteacher, Jo Richardson Community School
It's easy to think our sons or daughters are 'ok' because they appear to be doing the right things. But our role as parents is an active one - to guide our children as they grow up. Let's make sure we really know them - how they're doing, where they are, who they're hanging out with, not just be satisfied with outward appearance.
Pastor Ade Adesina
Powerhouse Ministries
As Faith Leaders we should not just be concerned with how people pray but also how they live. We live in challenging times and I would encourage you to take time to speak with the young people that attend your places of worship, to take an interest and talk with them about their safety and the factors that influence this.
Zahra Ibrahim
Director, Excel Women's Centre
In these days of escalating youth violence, let those of us in the voluntary sector make it our business to watch out for the young people within our sphere: encouraging them, taking notice of how they are and warning them of the dangers we may see that they may not.
Natalie Smith
Education Director, Arc Theatre
There are issues in society that can lead young people into the spiral that ends in prison, murder or death. But, as a youth worker, I believe we all have a responsibility to show young people that they have the power to make different, positive choices. Turning to violence isn't the only solution.
Alex Nelson
Youth Development Worker, LifeLine
If you end up hanging out with someone who is involved in a gang and they run, you HAVE TO run too. Otherwise you may end up dead. Other gangs may knife you, just because you're with that person.
Student, LifeLine School

Under LifeLine’s leadership, SW!TCH Lives is supporting and promoting the #KnifeFreeBD campaign by engaging hundreds of young people at-risk of exclusion and involvement in criminal activity. We’re walking with them and supporting them towards improved wellbeing, resilience and meaningful opportunities at school and in the community through:

Talk About It Workshops

A unique opportunity to produce creative content with the support of a top-20 artist, using professional studio equipment.

1:1 VIP Mentoring

Linking young people with trusted role models to find vision, identity and purpose.

SW!TCH Borders

An extracurricular group taking young people out of their comfort zone as they plan and undertake wilderness expeditions.

SW!TCH Lives supports young people to better self-express, re-evaluate the value of education in their lives and engage in positive community activities. Over a journey that may sometimes take years, they gain skills, make positive peer relationships, find new purpose and a more defined sense of self.

Here's how you can help!

Help us spread the word on social media – share now with the hashtag #KnifeFreeBD using the buttons below!

Donate to the #KnifeFreeBD campaign through the PayPal Giving Fund!

100% of your donation will go directly to support our work with young people in Barking and Dagenham.

Shop at the Co-op? Members of the Co-op can nominate LifeLine Projects as their local cause and we’ll receive 1% of whatever you spend there!

Not a member yet? You can sign up at the link below – it only costs £1!